As preparations ramp up for Sunday’s TG4 All Ireland Ladies Football Championship Semi Finals at Croke park, Lidl officially launched the Lidl #SeriousSupport Schools Programme yesterday.
Supported by the Ladies Gaelic Football Association and delivered by the Youth Sports Trust, Lidl Ireland have invested over €125,000 in this new initiative which aims to reduce the drop-off rate in sport participation amongst girls between those key ages.
Research undertaken by Lidl into how sport participation impacts the lives of women both on and off the pitch, and the factors that influence dropout rates, showed that by age 13, 1 in 2 girls drop out of sport.
Girls are 3 times more likely to give up sport than boys. Yet, it was discovered that girls who continue to play team sports are 4 times more likely to feel body confident, 50% feel more supported and 80% are more likely to have positive mental wellbeing when compared with their peers who do not play sport.
Thos kind of figures make this initiative feel far more important than a branding exercise and the long term impact it can have cannot be underestimated.
A total of ten athlete mentors, all current or former inter county stars, will cover an initial 33 schools that have been selected across the country.
They will deliver inspirational assembly talks and partake in #SeriousSupport workshops for the girls. They will then undertake a Ladies Gaelic Football project of their own throughout the year, applying the concepts they’ve learnt through the workshops.
The mentors involved are Carla Rowe and Lyndsey Davey from current All Ireland Champions Dublin; Caroline O’Hanlon from Armagh; Donna Berry from Kildare; Eilish Ward and Katy Herron from Donegal; Louise Galvin from Kerry; Lucy Hannon and Sinead Burke from Galway; and Cora Staunton from Mayo.
Piloted initially in seven schools, the Lidl #SeriousSupport Schools Programme has delivered proven results and provides schools with the opportunity to make a considerable impact amongst young female students.
A review of the pilot programme found that 96% of participants felt the programme increased their aspirations while 92% felt it increased their confidence. A massive 98% found the programme increased their team work.
Since 2016, over €3.5 million has already been invested in The Ladies Gaelic Football Association by Lidl Ireland through programmes which include Lidl’s Future Stars, Post Primary Schools and Club competitions which continue to drive awareness of the sport across the country.
It has been one of the most succesful partnerships in irish sport of recent years and continues to deliver in areas that make a real difference.
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Image credit: David Fitzgerald, Sportsfile