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BLOG: England’s Lionesses Should Inspire Us for a Summer of Sport – and a Lasting Legacy in Women’s Football

Toby with Chesterfield FC Ladies football team

Toby with Chesterfield FC Ladies football team

The whole country was captivated by the Lionesses as they defied the odds and roared their way through to the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup in Canada last month. England played some scintillating football with great team performances that saw them score some of the best goals in the competition and knock out the hosts along the way.

It was heart-breaking to see them dominate in the semi-final against Japan only to lose due to an own goal in stoppage time.

I hope that the excitement, athleticism and sheer joy shown by England’s women will inspire us all to get active this summer and make the most of the (hopefully) sunny weather to enjoy sports and improve our fitness. But what I also hope for, is that this will have a lasting impression on how we view, invest in and engage with women’s sport.

The World Cup has smashed many people’s preconceptions about international women’s football and shown that it can be as competitive, compelling and gut-wrenching as the men’s game. I hope that the buzz created by this team is already inspiring the next generation of girls to get involved in schools and parks across the country. I hope that this is a legacy we can build on to ensure that women’s football continues to grow and improve.

To build on England’s success in Canada we need to see real investment by the FA in to the women’s game, backed up by new facilities, more female coaches and positive marketing campaigns, like the inspiring ‘This Girl Can’ campaign adverts from Sport England. We also need to see football clubs follow teams like Chesterfield Ladies F.C. who have been inspiring women and girls for over twenty years to get involved in the game.

There has been a failure to build on the success of the Olympic Games and create a lasting sporting legacy, with a recent Sport England’s survey showing that the number of people taking part in sport of any kind has fallen by 220,000 since London 2012. The survey also revealed two million fewer women aged 14-40 take part in regular sport than men, and when it comes to competitive sports this disparity is even greater.

Toby with Megan Tinsley, from Chesterfield, who now plays for England under 17s

Toby with Megan Tinsley, from Chesterfield, who now plays for England under 17s

At a time when there is a great need for more of us to play sport I am delighted that the redevelopment of the Queen’s Park Sports Centre is almost completed. Only with this kind of investment, together with cultural changes in attitude towards women’s sport and each of us finding time to play competitive sports, will we create the next Lucy Bronze or Linda Bassett.

Whether this is going along to one of Chesterfield FC’s first games of the season, playing cricket in the park with the family, challenging a friend to a game of tennis on our local courts or playing volleyball on the beach whilst on holiday. Get active, get involved and have fun.

 

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

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