schools club links

School Club Links Project delivered

Sutton Juniors, Silsden Juniors and Wilsden Juniors recently took part in a project to increase number of girls' teams in the region.

In the summer of 2023 Football Development Officers Steve Conboy and Reece Sockett successfully applied for funding from The FA to deliver a School Club Links project in the Craven region of Bradford in a bid to create, and increase the number of, girls teams in the region.

The first step of the project was to identify 3 junior clubs in the region who had an interest in creating or increasing girls’ teams at their club.  Over the course of several weeks, meetings were held at various clubs with Sutton Juniors, Silsden Juniors and Wilsden Juniors all being selected to take part.

Once the clubs were selected, they were asked to provide the names of up to 4 local catchment area primary schools and with that information we were able to utilise the School Games Organisors (SGO’s) for help with contacting those schools to offer 4 free football sessions for their Year 1 and 2 girls.  Following the 4 free sessions, a festival would be organised for all the 4 schools to come together at the club venue to play against each other and to provide the club the opportunity to speak with parents about what their club can offer.

schools club links

The intention was to begin the project in Spring 2024, when the better weather would help to make the sessions more enjoyable, but to keep the schools engaged all were offered a free taster session in November/December of 2023.    The project got under way in March of this year with sessions being delivered at a total of 10 primary schools on behalf of the 3 partner clubs.  A total of 40 sessions were delivered throughout March, April and May, exposing over 320 girls to football.

The sessions were concluded with festivals taking place on 4th June for Sutton Juniors, 6th June for Silsden Juniors and the 19th June for Wilsden Juniors with almost 200 girls attending.  Early reports are that girls have already signed up to the clubs following the festival so the hope is that this will now generate new girls’ teams to boost the offer in the Craven region.

schools club links

We would like to say a special thank you to the following schools for taking part in the project:

Oakworth Primary, Beckfoot Nessfield, Haworth Primary, Wilsden Primary, Silsden Primary, Kildwick CE Primary, Glusburn Primary, Sutton-In-Craven Community Primary, Sutton-In-Craven COE Primary and Cowling.

We would also like to thank the Bradford & Craven region SGO’s – Claire Millbank, George Wysocki and Billy Summers for helping us to build relationships with the schools and the coaches Mark Brier and Chris Vollentine for doing an excellent job in engaging the girls in fun football sessions.

Haworth Primary commented: 

"Thank you so much! The girls had a fantastic time. We really appreciate everything you have done, our member of staff who attended on Monday has been inspired (she turned down a big football offer as a youth so she knows her stuff!) and between the two of us we hope to be running more football clubs for girls and boys next year. Our U11 girls won the Marley tournament this year so we are seeing some real talent coming through school and a great passion for the sport. The equipment will be put to good use and will be specifically for our clubs. Thanks again and I hope you get some more girls signed up, we will put the above info on our FB page."

If you would like information on opportunities for girls at one of the three clubs involved in the project, then please see the following contact details: