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Football's future female leaders flourish thanks to Eighth Wonder

Over 45 girls took part in the Eighth Wonder programme’s inaugural event at the Kent County Football Association on Friday 28 October.

The programme, founded by marketing and communications professional Charlotte Richardson, is designed for 14-20 year old girls with aspirations to become football’s future female leaders.

A non-funded project, Eighth Wonder soon won support from key partners including the Kent FA, K Sports Cobdown, Project 500, Kent Sport and Kick It Out, before inviting girls to sign up.

The kick-off event saw dozens of girls from across the county take part in a variety of sessions and workshops.

From a morning based around building confidence and self-esteem before tackling the topic of mental health, the girls were also able to take part in a Question and Answer session with Gillingham Ladies footballer and business owner, Emma Tune.

Gold medal winning Olympian, Charlotte Evans MBE, was also on hand to talk to the Eighth Wonder girls about her career in sport and the best ways to take on any barriers.

Following a jam-packed morning an even busier afternoon followed. Each participant was welcomed to five individual workshops, showcasing different careers in football. These included:

  • Administration, from Ryman League Secretary and Kent FA board member, Kellie Discipline

  • Sports Science and Personal Training, from Rob Horswell PT

  • Coaching, from Kent FA Football Development officer Natalie Curtis and Kent Sport’s Women’s Coaching Network lead, Louise Arnold

  • Football Development – from Kick It Out Education Officer, Hayley Bennett

  • Marketing, media and communications – from Kent FA Marketing and Communications Officer Amy Rutland and founder Charlotte Richardson

To round off the day, Eighth Wonder girls were able to gain fascinating glimpse into life working in football through a panel discussion including Hayley from Kick It Out, Derby County coach Alena Moulton, former Gillingham FC professional footballer and current Girls Academy coach Ian Cox and the Football Association’s Director of Participation, Kelly Simmons MBE.

The quartet offered unique insight into the profession and top tips for the girls to take away as they progress through the programme, which will see them assigned a personal mentor and bespoke volunteering opportunity, based upon their interest in the game.

Eighth Wonder founder, Charlotte Richardson, was delighted with how the day went.

“When the idea came to create this programme, I could never have dreamed within such a short space of time, we would welcome so many young women to be part of our first Eighth Wonder group. We could not have put on such an informative day without our range of partners, who’ve demonstrated invaluable commitment to ensuring the football’s future generation of female leaders are given the encouragement and belief they need to succeed.”

Hayely from Kick it Out added, “I was delighted to be involved in the Eighth Wonder launch event. It is really important that we support young women and other represented groups who want to work in the football industry. We have got girls from all over Kent to start thinking about breaking down barriers, and it would be amazing to see an event like this replicated all over the country.”

If you’d like to learn more or support the Eighth Wonder programme going forwards please email eighthwonderprogramme8@gmail.com or visit their website http://www.eighthwonderprogramme.co.uk/

Eighth Wonder are also on Twitter and Facebook.

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