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Project 500 – More Women, Better Coaching: A Building Block for Olympic Legacy

Project 500 is  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 Oxfordshire Sport Partnership, Bucks and MK Sport (LEAP), 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 was 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. Project 500 will engage with National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) of Sport and link to their programmes 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 the London 2012 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, The FA, Rugby Football Union (RFU), the English Cricket Board (ECB), British Cycling and the Exercise and Dance Partnership are the first six 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.”

Despite the success of England Netball on the international stage, little is known of its elite coaching staff.  Anna Mayes is just one of many coaches who will be supporting Project 500 over the next 2-years.

Despite the success of England Netball on the international stage, little is known of its elite coaching staff. Anna Mayes is just one of many coaches who will be supporting Project 500 over the next 2-years.

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, you can connect with us on social media where you can also join in our weekly discussions all about women in sport.

Twitter: @femalecoaches There is also a weekly discussion #womenswednesday

Facebook: Project 500 – More Women Better Coaching

For further information on the project, please contact Louisa Arnold, Coaching Development Manager, Kent Sport Email: Tel: 01227 824395 Mob: 07540 690477



At the start of 2015 Project 500 became the first ever winner of the Good to Great award at the County Sports Partnership Network (CSPN) Impact Awards. The inaugural CSPN Impact Awards were designed to reward excellent CSP projects that show national reach and local impact. Project 500 was the winning project out of a strong field of 30 submissions. The Awards are supported by De Vere Hotels and England Rugby.


Press Release May 24, 2012

Here come the girls!

A new campaign has launched across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight called Revitalise. The campaign is aimed at girls and women, encouraging them to  get active, feel good and have fun – regardless of their shape, size and level of fitness.

The facts about women in sport and physical activity have the same reoccurring theme: the desire is there, but people aren’t always aware of their choices or fear the unknown. Revitalise aims to break down these barriers by putting you in touch with professionals and volunteers who can help you get off the starting blocks. Revitalise will help give you that nudge to get you into cycling, running, joining a fitness class or whatever takes your fancy.

“54% of women say they would like to participate more in sport and physical activity” (WSFF, 2011).

So why don’t more women do more sport and physical activity? Women lead busy lives, full of distractions such as shopping, surfing the net, watching TV and entertaining.  For girls and younger women leaving school, starting college or university, starting a new job or a family are just a few of the most common reasons why females drop out of sport.

Getting started might seem daunting, but as CJ Lee, Coaching Development Manager for Sport Hampshire & IOW explains,

“We’re trying to promote getting fit over getting thin. You don’t have to be in great shape to start getting the life you want.  Sport and physical activity are great ways to meet people, relieve stress and feel good about yourself.  We want to find girls and women who can share their personal stories and challenges to create a virtual support network.  We’re also looking for women who can inspire others by becoming leaders, role models and coaches.”

From Sofa Mum to Park Run

Barbara Boshier, a 45 year old working mum and self-confessed couch potato from Chandlers Ford, says running transformed her life. Barbara is the same as many ladies who join gyms and don’t like it; join aerobics classes but don’t have the co-ordination for them; and simply don’t know how to start getting fit.  Barbara knew she was badly out of shape and knew she needed to do something about it, but didn’t know where to start. When she saw an advert for a beginners running course she decided to drag her husband along and give it a go. Before long she found herself becoming a regular at the Eastleigh Parkrun, a free 5km timed run.

Barbara states “I’m making progress now and I’m gradually getting faster, I love the thrill of setting a new personal best time.”

The two biggest challenges she overcame was her lack of self-confidence as she thought she was too unfit to get fit – a common misconception – and finding the time to fit sport around her work, family and home life.  However, she soon realised you have to start from somewhere and make sport a priority.

Barbara is now encouraging other women to take the plunge and has the following good advice, “Find something you enjoy and keeps you motivated. You don’t have to punish yourself doing something which isn’t fun.”

Taking the First Step to a new you!

Over the month of June there’s no shortage of different ways to make a start.  Race for Life is coming up in Winchester on the 10th June with other local events following later in the month and July.  Some people choose to walk, jog or run the 5K course, raising money for breast cancer research.  This is something you can get involved with to start off your sporting career and follow similar footsteps to Barbara.  Our website shows all our partners who are supporting the Revitalise campaign ranging from leisure centers to the NHS.

Doing some regular activity means you don’t have to ignore the good things in life or feel guilty after the occasional indulgence either, but so many people don’t take the plunge because they’re afraid that they’re not fit enough or will not fit in.

Motivation is key!  So, whether you’re a parent wanting to be good role model for your children; want to fit into that little black dress or your summer bikini body, there’s something out there for everyone.  Barbara and thousands other women and girls are doing it and so can you!

For more info on how to get started or to share your personal stories visit our website,“, like us on facebook or follow us on twitter at @RevitaliseMe.


Note to Editors

Revitalise is a campaign being run by Sport Hampshire & IOW (SHIOW). SHIOW is the County Sports Partnership for Hampshire and Isle of Wight that provides the strategic lead for sport in the area. SHIOW is one of 49 partnerships in the country whose role it is to promote sport and physical activity for all.

For the latest information about the Revitalise campaign visit , call CJ Lee on 01962 847523 or email

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