Propelled by superstar figures including a Team GB hammer thrower and a This Girl Can poster girl, the Girls Up and Active project has motivated 250 women in Burnley and Padiham to get more active.
In just over five months, the sport and physical activity project has provided the women with access to free or low-cost sessions operated by Burnley Leisure in the local area in which they can work towards getting fitter and more healthy in a friendly and pressure-free environment.
Sessions include a Couch to 5k programme, boxing for beginners, high-intensity Metafit classes, football, rounders, netball and buggy bootcamp for mums, with inspirational Girls Up and Active champions including two mothers who overcame postnatal depression with the help of the buggy bootcamp and volunteer of the year Megan Riley, as well as Team GB hammer thrower Sophie Hitchon and poster girl Joanne Baldwin - all of whom are shining examples of the programme’s virtues.
Andrea Pilling, Burnley Leisure’s project activator and lead for Girls Up and Active, said: “It is fantastic news that so many women have benefitted from this project so far. Together with our partners we’re working hard to continue support women and girls in living a healthy and active lifestyle.
“As part of our commitment, we’ve have launched a weekly Fit and Training Club which runs on Tuesdays at Valley Street Community Centre between 10am and 12pm,” she continued. “We offer women advice and tips on how to make smarter food choices, lead a more active lifestyle and lose weight without dieting.
The project has been running since the Calico Group received £164,220 in funding from Sport England, with Burnley Leisure carrying out the project on Calico Group’s behalf. So far, fitness, well-being, health and motivation to take part and have fun have all blossomed amogst participants who have lost weight and gained confidence together.
With government guidelines recommending five 30-minute sessions of exercise per week, many participants - inspired to try new ways to get active - went from doing no physical activity to taking part in three sessions a week taking them a step closer to their ultimate goal.
And they are always welcoming of new members. “I’d like to encourage women to have a look through the Girls Up and Active timetable on our website and join us at the next session,” explained Andrea.