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This Girl Can

This Girl Can, ukactive, and CIMSPA team up to create inclusive spaces for women

August 8, 2022

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Nearly £500,000 is being awarded to the This Girl Can campaign to help shape fitness and leisure environments to the benefit of women. Sport England and ukactive have announced the investment with the aim of ensuring that facilities in the sector are made safe and inclusive for all women.

Last month, The Drive Phase podcast played host to two senior executives in administering the This Girl Can programme. EMD UK’s Shelley Meyern and Sue Wilkie have more than 40 years of combined experience administering group programmes. They now work operatively on the This Girl Can programme.


Research performed by EMD UK and ukactive have found that group classes are most popular amongst women. For women, safety concerns are their primary reasons for not attending gyms and leisure centres.

In fact, two-thirds of women who do attend have taken some measures to protect themselves from sexual harassment. The funding will be used to lessen the gap between the genders when it comes to activity levels.

The funding will also be used to:

  • Partner with safeguarding organisations and experts on inclusion
  • For the development of tools, training, and best practice to upskill and support staff with inclusion
  • Opportunities for Sector-wide leisure facilities that focus on reducing intimidation around weights areas


Executive Director of Digital, Marketing & Communications at Sport England, Ali Donnelly, said:

“Safety and harassment fears often stop women from getting active, and these fears can undermine confidence to the point that many women are reluctant to use gyms and leisure centres.

“Through This Girl Can we have learned a huge amount about how to help our partners make their facilities and spaces safe and welcoming for women, and this investment will provide significant support to the leisure and fitness sector to make improvements.”


To find out more about the funding, see here.

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