Cumberland Football Association has been successfully shortlisted for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award at the 2023 County FA Recognition Awards for its Starter Period Pack for Girls Project.
The Awards, which will be announced at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Thursday 23 November 2023, recognise and endorse the best projects, products and services delivered by County FAs over the past season while sharing best practice and learnings from around the country.
A record breaking 242 submissions have been entered from the 50 County FAs operating across England, highlighting continuous improvements, and showcasing how they are innovating to improve grassroots football and increase participation across all levels of the game.
The twelve categories which will be recognised at the awards were:
• Brand Engagement
• Coach Development
• Employee Wellbeing & Engagement
• Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
• Facility Development
• Football Development
• Positive Football Environment
• Referee Development
• Special recognition
• Women & Girls
• Youth Engagement
Cumberland FA has made the final shortlist for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion category for its Starter Period Pack for Girls Project, which saw the County FA join forces with Tesco in Carlisle and Workington and Period Poverty North Cumbria to provide all affiliated girls teams (from U12 to U18) with a starter period product pack for training and matches.
The project not only wanted to provide the resources to support girls, amidst a cost of living crisis where 1 in 4 girls have stated that they are struggling to afford period products, but also wanted to raise awareness of these challenges and breaking down any barriers that may have stopped girls be able to access the products they need.
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Pictured from left to right: Jonny Birdsall (Tesco Store Manager), Jackie Hayhow (Cumberland FA Deputy Safeguarding Champion), Kelly Cromie (Tesco Community Champion) and Helen Aitchison (Cumberland FA Football Development Officer)
Helen Aitchison, Women & Girls Football Development Officer, Cumberland FA and Lead for this project said:
"We were delighted to coordinate with our partners to offer a starter pack for period products for girls’ teams across the county providing around 700 girls with equal access to period products (if needed) at training or matches when they play football.
"This season, 4/5 respondents to our survey didn’t have these period packs prior to this project with 50% of coaches saying these helped to reduce any awkward conversations between themselves and their players during the season. We’re now planning the new season allocation to support girls, women, coaches and teams for the season ahead.”
Cumberland FA Director and Deputy Board Safeguarding Champion, Jackie Hayhow, who was pivotal in setting up the project and linking with the strategic partners said:
“Whilst it is nice to be recognised by The FA, our main aim was to ensure that all female teams from U12 and upwards were provided with a period starter pack boot bag to help reduce the stigma around periods, especially as the majority of coaches within the girls game are males.”
Kelly Cromie from Period Equality for All in Cumbria – formally known as Period Poverty North Cumbria - said:
“We believe period products should be free and available to anyone who needs them, so it’s great to be able to provide these items free of charge to those people and be involved in such a great initiative”
Jonny Birdsall, Tesco store manager from Workington, added:
“Tesco is proud to support this important initiative, with the rise of the female game, we are pleased we were able to support.”
The FA’s Head of Operations for Grassroots Football, Tim Foster, added:
“I’d like to congratulate Cumberland FA in making the final shortlist for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award and all of the other shortlisted County FAs in what has been a record-breaking number of submissions this year.
"It has been fantastic to see such a strong selection of programmes and projects entered across the twelve categories, and we look forward to hosting our County FAs at Wembley Stadium in November to thank them for all they do in serving our national game.”
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