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Warrington women come together to prove ‘This Girl Can’

The ladies have all completed the This Girl Can programme, which gives inactive women the chance to improve their physical fitness and mental wellbeing by taking part in regular activities.

The national initiative – which was launched by Sport England – gives females free access to exciting activities such as cardio tennis, archery and driving range as well as tennis, yoga, trampoline classes, and ladies-only boxing for a 12 week period,  allowing them to complete challenges they never thought were possible.

LiveWire and Warrington Borough Council first brought the programme to Warrington in 2016 – with 32 women from across the borough completing the 12 week course.

Last year’s programme was so popular, it had to be extended so more women could take part.

This year, funding from the Latch Ford Big Local Fund brought the programme to the Latchford and Westy areas of the town.

For many in the group it was a real turning point in their life, and was about more than just getting active – it was an opportunity to address issues of self-esteem, self-confidence, and social anxiety.

Wendy Pitt from Appleton approached LiveWire to ask if she could take part in the activities in a wheelchair. “The programme has changed my attitude and has given me the courage to and confidence to push my boundaries.

“I’ve tried archery, tennis, boxing, self-defence, Zumba, and aqua jog – all I need now is a few extra days in the week to take part in all the sports I’ve loved.”

The initiative also provides opportunities for women to volunteer to support those on the course to complete it. Laura Aker, a graduate from the 2016 programme, has been able to further increase her confidence by volunteering as a mentor this year.

“I recently supported a group of women from the programme to complete a Coast to Coast cycle challenge from Warrington to Hornsea.

“I carried their bags and food and drink supplies in a support vehicle during the 200 mile trek.

“I never would have had the confidence to do something like that before This Girl Can. It really has changed my life.”

Louise Shannon, from LiveWire, who leads the programme, said: “It was fantastic to see so many of these fantastic women come together to celebrate their achievements.

“This programme really has changed many of women’s lives – allowing them to become more active and meet new friends.”

Jo Norton, from Warrington Borough Council, who helped to organise the programme, said: “It has been truly inspiring to see the women taking part in the programme challenge themselves to do things they previously never thought they could – and then do those things successfully!”

The programme doesn’t stop there – a new class will start in Latchford on Wednesday 5 July for graduates of the programme or any other ladies who want to get fit and have fun. The belly dancing class will run each Wednesday at St Margaret’s Community Hub from 7-8pm and costs just £2 per person.

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