Project 500

Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013



Project 500 is a new campaign to address the imbalance in the number of male to female coaches, creating a more diverse workforce to drive the growth of female participation in sport. Devised by Sport Hampshire & IOW (SHIOW), alongside Bucks Sport, Oxfordshire Sport Partnership, , Get Berkshire Active, Active Surrey, Active Sussex, and Kent Sport and Physical Activity Service, Project 500 will see a combined five hundred female coaches recruited, developed and deployed across the seven South East counties between April 2013 and March 2015. 

The project is being launched on International Women’s Day (8 March 2013) in recognition of the increasingly powerful role that women have played and continue to play in society across the globe. It is hoped that National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) of Sport will link their programmes to the project to develop a workforce which better reflects the demographics of our local communities who want to engage in sport and physical activity and in turn jump-start the creation of a women's coaching network in the UK.

Despite the success of women at last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, the need to engage more women and girls in sporting endeavours has never been so crucial. Increased interest in female sport by the BBC and Sky alongside initiatives like Project 500 will help to create a new platform for women and girls to enjoy and excel in sport as recreational players, coaches, elite athletes and leaders.

So far England Netball, England Handball and the Exercise and Dance Partnership are the first three NGB’s to fully endorse the project. Liam McCarthy, Coaching Development Manager of England Handball explained; “It’s a real privilege for England Handball to have been approached to be a part of Project 500 and to have been involved right from its inception. It is our belief that not enough is being done to engage young women and girls in coaching and leadership pathways in England, and it’s an honour to be working with a special group of people who want to change that.”

The seven County Sport Partnerships (CSPs) across South East region will deliver the project supported by a number of national sports organisations including Sport England, sports coach UK and the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation.

CJ Lee, Coaching Development Manager from Sport Hampshire and IOW, and the project’s creator, explains: “In the UK Women are twice as likely as men to receive coaching, but only 33 per cent of our nation’s coaches are women with only 37 per cent of these having coaching qualifications. If we are to deliver on Seb Coe’s promise to inspire a generation we must recruit, support and retain more females in coaching and leadership roles. With only one in five women doing enough physical activity to stay healthy in the UK, we must get more girls and women to feel like sport and physical activity can offer them something which will actively improve their quality of life and wellbeing.”

To find out more and help spread the word, search for Project 500 - More Women, Better Coaching on Facebook and like the page.

Source: Project 500