Everton in the Community (EitC) and Everton Sixth Form College are helping to shape the future of young females in Saudi Arabia as they visit the Middle Eastern country to introduce multi-sports activities to young girls in primary schools.
Along with Everton Sixth Form students Charnais and Lucy, EitC Coach Danielle Kerrigan has visited the country at the request of leading educational sporting equipment company Eveque, which has been delivering its indoor athletics set-up worldwide with the aim of equipping people with the skills they need to benefit their future.
In July 2017, Dr Ahmed Al-Eissa, the Saudi Minister of Education, announced that a physical education programme in girls’ schools would be implemented from the beginning of the 2017 autumn school term “in accordance with Islamic law standards” and would scale up “according to the possibilities available in each school”, including sports halls and competent women instructors.
The Everton and Eveque delegation are coming to the end of a fortnight-long visit to the Middle East where their first week was spent in the Saudi capital Riyadh creating history and delivering multi-sports coaching sessions to young females before journeying to Jeddah to train the female teachers who will be delivering PE lessons for the first time.
Upon returning from Saudi Arabia, Danielle Kerrigan, EitC Lead Coach: “Being a part of the culture over in Saudi Arabia and helping women and girls in to sport was a fantastic experience for me and the sixth formers. From being a woman working in the world of sport it was such a shock that so many females don’t actually exercise regularly, and you could see the difference between the girls in schools there and the girls in the schools that I coach in here in the UK.”
Tom Bunner, Managing Director of Eveque Leisure Equipment Limited, added: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to present our Sportshall Athletics programme to the people of Saudi Arabia and are very grateful for the help offered by the staff and students at Everton Free School and EitC, in particular, Danielle, Charnais and Lucy.
“The Sportshall Athletics concept was devised in the 1970s by my father George who was born in Norris Green and is a lifelong Blue. The first Sportshall League started in Liverpool in the early '80s and has grown to become the largest school sports programme in the UK. It is always wonderful to see the concept spread to other countries and cultures.”
Everton Sixth Form has been working with Eveque with a view to introducing the Sportshall programme during their exchange visits to China and the Eveque team visited the impressive Everton Free School building on Spellow Lane in February to train 25 sixth form students to become Sportshall Athletics leaders. The students gained leadership and organisation skills whilst developing their confidence and ability to coach and lead indoor athletic and fitness sessions and it is this knowledge that Charnais and Lucy have taken to Saudi Arabia to help create a legacy for millions of young girls across the Middle East.