Women's football is currently one of the fastest growing sports both at home and abroad and NHS Greater Glasgow has taken the opportunity to champion girls' football through a new partnership.
NHS Greater Glasgow has teamed up with Scottish Women's football (SWF) to encourage young girls and women to take part in the beautiful game… and stay fit and healthy.
We're supporting the West Region Girls' Football League, a league of eight teams of girls and young women all under the age of 17.
Every week, the young women take part in their teams' regular training sessions and, just as with boys' football, the individual teams play each other for trophies such as the League Cup or the Scottish Cup. Local West of Scotland teams include: Hamilton Accies, Baillieston, Paisley Saints and East Kilbride.
NHS Greater Glasgow's Chief Executive, Tom Divers, said: " NHS Greater Glasgow is delighted to be supporting Scottish Women's Football. Anything that encourages young girls to be more involved in this glorious game and introduce more physical activity into their life, is a good thing."
National Coach, Walter Smith said: " I'm delighted to hear about the partnership between NHS Greater Glasgow and SWF to assist the West Region Girl's Football League. Girls' football is increasingly popular and an initiative such as this, highlighting the benefits of healthy living and an active lifestyle, will play a big part in developing the sport."
To launch the new partnership, student nurses, Emma Walker and Nicola Rodden, popped down to Hampden for a kickabout with Hamilton Accies' Ladies team members, Lorna Brownlie and Lisa-Marie Boyd.
Lorna (16) said: " I've loved football since I was very young. It's a great sport and I love playing. I would encourage all girls and young women to take part. Not only is it great for health, but you make a lot of friends through playing and it's got a good social life attached to it."
Lisa-Marie agreed with her team-mate and added: " I really enjoy playing football. It's a great way to keep fit and healthy."
Their views was echoed by Women's National Coach, Anna Signeul, who said: " With all the pressures on young people today (such as peer pressure to smoke), it is important to provide them with alternatives which will promote their health and well-being. As a young footballer, healthy lifestyle on and off the pitch is really important as it will have an impact on their performance and long-term career in football."
Through this partnership we will work together to promote and encourage girls and young women to take regular exercise to support long-term health. There are so many benefits to healthy living, there's no reason to put off that healthier lifestyle any longer. Getting physical activity into your daily routine, combined with healthy eating is the best way to get the long and short term benefits into your life.
Carol Tannahill, Director, Glasgow Centre for Population Health, said: "This is a really exciting new venture to help young people aim for the goal of good health. Being active is one of the easiest and most important things we can do to look after our health. As well as its long-term benefits and its role in maintaining healthy weight, physical exercise improves mental wellbeing and energy levels, and provides opportunities for meeting new people. Given our health challenges, I hope that lots of people will sign up and join the team competing for a healthy Scotland."
NOTES TO EDITORS
Pictures of student nurses alongside Hamilton Accies team members available on request.
Scottish Women's Football contact is Maureen McGonigle, email: [email protected]
For further information contact Lyn Stirling, NHS Greater Glasgow Communications Department on 0141 201 4558.