On Wednesday, February 8, Gillingham Football Club Community Trust (GFCCT) and the Robert Napier School teamed up and delivered a joint coaching initiative involving school children, PE staff and GFCCT Coaches. Over 70 girls from year seven to year 10 participated in GFCCT-led coaching sessions alongside Robert Napier PE Teachers.
The day consisted of GFCCT coaches leading football and sports sessions to girls who were participating in their specific year groups or ability levels. The afternoon was supported by The Robert Napier PE department.
The Gills taster session marked the start of a new partnership with the school, and will lead to the Gills running free after school football sessions for girls in year nine and 10.
Ian Cox, GFCCT Girls Academy Coach and former Gills first team player, said: "We are continually striving to raise the awareness of girls’ football participation in our local community and this partnership supports that.”
The partnership will see Gillingham FC coaches work alongside Anchorians FC coaches, offering players of all abilities development opportunities either into the Gills Girls Regional Talent Club or into Anchorians FC.
Georgia Bowie, GFCCT Women and Girls’ Development Officer added about the potential pathway: “It means that we can see more girls participating in football, and those that demonstrate enough potential have the opportunity to be invited into the Girls RTC”.
Head of PE for The Robert Napier School, Mike Walsh, said of the new partnership: "This is an exciting opportunity for our students to experience professional, top class football coaching and mentoring. It will allow our students to enhance their current football experiences and develop community links with Gillingham Football Club.
“We have launched the partnership starting with the promotion of girls’ football. An assembly was used to highlight that Gillingham FC coaching staff would be delivering this wonderful opportunity, and a staggering 71 girls enthusiastically signed up to attend the fun and fast-paced taster session.
“The girls had a great time and are really looking forward to working each Monday after school with the Gillingham coaches."