A programme has been launched to help teenage girls find and reclaim their joy of sport and exercise during puberty. Big Sister provides girls with a range of resources and support – created and shaped by other girls – to enable them to find out about the changes that happen to their bodies, while offering ways to improve self-belief and wellbeing.
Teenage girls are being encouraged to visit the Big Sister online digital hub – (www.big-sister.co.uk) to access free content, support, and practical advice from peer mentors to help navigate the challenges of puberty. It also addresses the stigmas and gender stereotyping which can prevent girls from leading happy, healthy and active lives.
Exercise has been found to help to prevent numerous issues that affect the lives of girls and women, from anxiety and self-harm during the teenage years to osteoporosis that can plague women in later life. Recent research, however, found that 43% of teenage girls who once considered themselves sporty start to disengage from sport following primary school.
Aiming to help prevent girls from slipping into a lifetime of inactivity, the Big Sister programme has formed partnerships with Places for People, its leisure provider Places Leisure and schools and community groups to help inspire girls to get active through their local leisure centres.
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Supporting the growth of women’s sport is a Government priority so we must break the cycle which sees many young girls take up exercise but then quit as they grow older and become teenagers.
“The Big Sister programme, funded by the Government’s Tampon Tax Fund, is helping to tackle this issue and is now offering free six – month gym memberships to 9 – 15-year-old-girls. I urge all those eligible to take up this fantastic offer.”