Teaching vital life skills - She Inspires initiative takes to the classroom

PCC Emily Spurrell and Chief Constable Serena Kennedy join girls from Dixon's Broadgreen Academy for the She Inspires school programme

Merseyside's Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell and Chief Constable Serena Kennedy attended Dixon’s Broadgreen Academy, alongside partners from Everton in the Community, LFC Foundation and Liverpool County FA to meet some of the girls taking part in the school’s programme element of their ‘She Inspires’ initiative.

The ‘She Inspires’ schools programme aims to work with inactive female pupils in Years 8 & 9. It offers a mix of practical and workshop sessions including weekly coaching (football and multi sports), access to FA Qualifications, grassroots pathway opportunities and bespoke CPD workshops, covering 6 key themes; Aspirations, Confidence, Leadership, Team building, Self-esteem and Leadership. The sessions are run by Everton in the Community and LFC Foundation.

The Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner took part in the classroom session, sharing examples with the girls of when they were resilient, the theme for this week. A kickabout on the pitch followed and the girls put into practice some of the training they have received so far.

The afternoon was completed with a visit from Leanne Kiernan, a striker for LFC Women, who shared her own stories of resilience from the challenges faced when getting into football as a child to her recent injury setback, which saw her side-lined for 14 months. Leanne left the girls with some important messages, “No matter how tough the challenge is there is always light at the end of the tunnel,” and “Don’t let anyone tell you can’t achieve because you can do anything!”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Great things can happen when sport and education go hand in hand and through our award-winning She Inspires initiative, we’re using football as a gateway to reach and engage with hundreds of young women across Merseyside.

“With the help of our brilliant football clubs, we’re not only giving them some fantastic sporting opportunities, we’re also embedding vital life skills such as team work, resilience, self-confidence and leadership. These are qualities that are useful in every stage of life – no matter whether it’s on the football pitch, in the classroom, or even in the boardroom.

“By inspiring and investing in our young people now, our goal is to build brighter futures – encouraging these young women to dream big and know they can achieve whatever they want in life.”

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “It was great to witness first-hand how the programme is benefiting not only the girls at Dixon’s Broadgreen, but lots of girls across Merseyside. 

The programme is proving vital in increasing the girls’ confidence, improving communication skills, developing teamwork and more importantly inspiring them to believe in themselves so that they can be whatever they want to be.

“I look forward to seeing the progress these talented young women make on and off the pitch. I’m proud to be able to support initiatives like this one that give more opportunities to young people in our communities.”

Anthony Harden, Senior Manager of Youth and Support at Everton in the Community said: “Now that we’re into the fifth week of delivery for the She Inspires programme, it’s fantastic to see how much the girls are enjoying the sessions. In such a short space of time, so many of them have increased levels of confidence and are feeling more inspired to take up opportunities both on and off the pitch – which is what this project is all about.

“We’re delighted to be delivering such an impactful initiative with a number of influential organisations across Merseyside and we’re all unified towards the same goal to break down barriers for not only women and girls in sport but also to aspire them into future careers.” 

Liverpool FA Chief Executive Officer Anthony Smith said: “It is fantastic to see the She Inspires programme being rolled out to our first set of schools in the 2023/24 season. Following the success of last year, the She Inspires Programme will continue to grow and provide the girls an opportunity to develop life skills such as leadership, resilience and self-confidence in a positive and safe environment with their school.

“The strengthened partnership with Merseyside Police, Police Crime Commissioner, Liverpool Foundation and Everton in the Community is an outstanding platform to show our collective support for young females to be empowered and strive to reach their full potential through the power of football and education.  

“The impact of the programme within the schools across the 5 boroughs may inspire girls to continue their football journey outside of school in their local communities by getting involved in grassroots football whether that be a player, coach or referee. The programme will offer the girls opportunities to get coaching and refereeing qualification to help upskill and support their local communities alongside employability in the future.”

Gemma Smith, LFC Foundation head of programmes, added: “The She Inspires programme has been designed to empower, inspire and raise aspirations for girls aged 12 to 14 in 30 secondary schools across Merseyside. It was brilliant to have Leanne in attendance to share her own experiences and is a superb role model for these girls.  

“Having all partners come together for this event shows our unified goal of improving opportunities for these girls and giving them the belief that they can achieve their goals, while highlighting both the importance of the programme and the positive impact it is having on young girls in our community.”