In 2014 UK Coaching reported the findings of some EU research. This research confirmed that the coaching workforce is heavily male dominated, with women accounting for around 30% of coaches. The proportion of female coaches drops to 17% for qualified coaches and 12% for highly qualified coaches (Level 3 or above). Proposed EU targets for working towards gender equality in coaching have been set - these aim to ensure that women make up 40% of the coaching workforce. Achieving this target requires another 200,000 women to get involved in coaching.
#PassOnYourPassion aimed to profile and recognise existing females coaches and enable them to support women to get into coaching. By tapping into existing networks and social groups that are part of their everyday lives. Through this approach taking the first steps to get involved in coaching aren't as daunting: women can get involved together with their friends, within their own communities and in settings where some of the traditional barriers have been removed.
Piloted by Greater Sport in 2016 the #PassOnYourPassion campaign celebrated the fantastic female workforce in Greater Manchester with them passing on their passion to the next generation.
In 2017 the campaign saw 13 County Sport Partnerships collaborate and work with local stakeholders to take the campaign on tour across the North of England over 13 weeks. The campaign saw 663 inspirational women coaches recognised for their coaching and asked to pass on their passion to someone they felt had the potential to become a future coach. The coaches were asked to tweet pictures of them passing on their passion using the #PassOnYourPassion hashtag.
Throughout the campaign 870 different people tweeted using the hashtag. With 4234 tweets the campaign made 10.6 million potential impressions. As well as twitter the campaign also saw 30 newspaper articles, one radio interview and one TV interview.
499 batons were sent out (this was the symbolic way of passing on their passion) with 177 coaches passing their passion to someone else on twitter. Case studies were made from the female coaches and shared with campaign partner Reach. These case studies detail the coaches journeys and barriers that they have overcome helping other women overcome them and get involved.
The project has shown real impact in the communities it has reached, some examples of this include:
Charlotte Dinsdale, who was nominated by her head coach at North Tyneside Barbells because 'even with her full time career within HMRC she helps develop our junior weightlifting squads from ages 8-15 and still has time to compete in competitions around the country. She has been crucial in the growth of the club and as the majority of the members are female, she brings a whole new level of understanding and empathy to the club.' Charlotte then chose to pass on her passion to 17 year old Lily Petts, who is described as a future superstar within weightlifting and very keen to pass on her knowledge. Lily said ' I have been a member of North Tyneside Barbells for two years. Since joining I have watched my body change; my self confidence is through the roof because my coach has pushed my body beyond its limit and I'm forever grateful. As a result of his hard work and seeing the joy she gets out of it, It has inspired me to want to become a coach. I too want to make other people as happy and as confident as I am.' This shows the impact that great coaching can have on an individuals wellbeing and Lily will go on to pass this on to others.
Tracy, from Cumbria, was handed the the baton by her friend Sarah and has been inspired to complete her leadership in running qualification and then wants to complete a coaching assistant course. She would like to create more opportunities for children to encourage them to start running.
Since leaving North Tyneside College Shakila continues to volunteer one day a week in the sport department and at other sessions. Chris, who nominated her said, 'She has spent a significant amount of time working with students who have a range of disabilities encouraging them to participate in sport. Shakila passed on her baton to Alex who has now been appointed to a new Female Football Development Apprentice role at the College and will look to develop more opportunities for females to get and stay active both within the college and the community.
Philippa, from North Yorkshire, was inspired by the #PassOnYourPassion case studies on the North Yorkshire Sport website and approached her child's athletics club about becoming a coach. The head coach was overjoyed as they are desperately short.
When talking about #PassOnYourPassion, Janice, a Project Coordinator at Millom Recreation Centre in Cumbria said, 'In more isolated areas, such activities and passion increase community cohesion, with communities being central to the sporting offer.' A gymnastics club based at the centre has benefitted from the campaign as the teenage girls have been encouraged to go for their level one coaching course and those who have already completed it are wanting to complete their level two. This has allowed the club to put on more sessions for all ages from pre-school to adults. Not only is this helping to address the lack of qualified female coaches progressing through the system but is also helping to address the obesity levels in the area. Public Health England data shows that this borough is the fattest in England with 75.9% of the population is classed as overweight or obese.
Since the campaign finished, sustainability has been realised with 12 County Sport Partnerships having set up Communities of Practice to support the existing female workforce, the 177 new female coaches this campaign has recruited and anyone else wanting to get involved creating a legacy for the programme. This has created an improvement culture delivering one of the key strategic approaches in the Coaching Plan for England.
The women engaged with #PassOnYourPassion have helped to maintain and expend the current provision of sport and physical activity across the North of England impacting on their own and participants physical and mental wellbeing and community cohesion.