Saltley Stallions Women's FC is a football club created for women of all backgrounds to have opportunities to play and showcase their skills.
Why was Saltley Stallions Women's FC created?
Saltley Stallions Women's FC was formed for several reasons. Firstly, we wanted to create an inclusive space where women could come together and just play football in a non-competitive form. Football is a sport that has traditionally been dominated by men, and we wanted to challenge that norm by providing opportunities for women to showcase their skills and passion for the game. This was always going to be challenge especially being based in a South Asian community.
Additionally, we recognised the importance of promoting women's empowerment and equality through sports. By starting a women's football club, we aimed to encourage women to pursue their athletic ambitions, build confidence, and develop leadership skills both on and off the field. we believe that sports can be a powerful tool for personal growth, fostering teamwork, discipline, and resilience.
Furthermore, we wanted to create opportunities for women in our community where football just didn’t exist. By establishing Saltley Stallions Women's FC, we hoped to create a platform for local talent to thrive and potentially attract more interest and investment in women's football. This would not only benefit the individual players but also contribute to the growth and recognition of women's football as a whole.
Lastly, we wanted to create a sense of community and camaraderie among the community. Sports have a unique ability to bring people together, and by forming a women's football club, we aimed to foster strong relationships and friendships among the team members. we wanted to create an environment where players could enjoy the game, have fun, and create lasting memories.
In summary, we started Saltley Stallions Women's FC to provide a platform for women to play football, promote women's empowerment and equality, contribute to the development of women's football, and foster a sense of community among the players.
How did you understand what people wanted?
Understanding what people wanted for Saltley Stallions Women's FC required a combination of active listening, community engagement, and a genuine commitment to fulfilling their needs. As an inclusive football club, we recognised that it was crucial to involve the community in shaping our vision and objectives. Here's how we went about understanding what people wanted:
1. Open Communication:
We actively reached out to women in the community, engaging in conversations to understand their aspirations, concerns, and desires regarding football. We held meetings, organised focus groups, and conducted surveys to gather valuable insights from potential players, community members, and stakeholders.
2. Needs Assessment:
We conducted a thorough needs assessment to identify the existing gaps and challenges faced by women who were interested in playing football. This involved evaluating the availability of resources, facilities, and opportunities in the area, as well as understanding any cultural or social barriers that may have hindered women's participation in the sport.
3. Tailored Approach:
Recognising the unique dynamics of our South Asian community, we paid particular attention to cultural sensitivities and preferences. We ensured that our club provided a safe and welcoming environment, respecting cultural norms while also encouraging women to pursue their passion for football.
4. Collaborative Decision-Making:
We involved the community in decision-making processes, seeking their input on key aspects such as training schedules, team structure, and club policies. By actively involving the women and community members in shaping the club's direction, we ensured that their voices were heard and their needs were addressed.
5. Continuous Feedback:
We established an ongoing feedback mechanism to maintain open lines of communication with players, coaches, and community members. This allowed us to continually assess and adapt our offerings to meet the evolving needs and expectations of the community.
By adopting these approaches, we gained a deep understanding of what women in our community wanted from Saltley Stallions Women's FC. This enabled us to create an inclusive space for women to play football, promote women's empowerment and equality, provide opportunities where they previously didn't exist, and foster a strong sense of community and camaraderie. Our commitment to actively listening and engaging with the community has been instrumental in shaping the club and ensuring its success in meeting the desires of the women we serve.
How did you promote your activities?
To promote the activities of Saltley Stallions Women's FC, we employed various strategies that included collaborations, social media presence, and partnerships. Here's how we promoted our activities:
We actively sought collaborations with like-minded individuals, organisations, and brands to increase our reach and visibility. Collaborating with popular entities such as "This Girl Can," "Gym Shark," and "EA Sports" allowed us to tap into their established audiences and amplify our message of women's empowerment through football.
2. Social Media:
We recognised the power of social media as a promotional tool and dedicated resources to grow a substantial social media presence. Through platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, we shared engaging content.
3. Community Engagement:
We actively engaged with our local community through various initiatives. We organised workshops, community tournaments, and open training sessions to involve community members and generate interest in women's football. By participating in community events and collaborating with local organisations, we were able to establish ourselves as a trusted and integral part of the community.
We formed partnerships with local businesses, sports clubs, and organisations that shared our vision and values. These partnerships allowed us to access resources, facilities, and expertise that enhanced our activities and provided mutual promotional benefits. For example, partnering with sports retailers or local gyms allowed us to cross-promote and increase visibility.
5. Word of Mouth:
We encouraged our players, supporters, and community members to spread the word about our activities. Positive experiences and strong community engagement led to organic word-of-mouth promotion, with satisfied participants recommending our club to their friends, family, and acquaintances.
6. Events and Sponsorships:
We organised and participated in football tournaments, friendly matches, and community events. These events served as platforms to showcase our club's talent and values, attracting attention and support from spectators, media, and potential sponsors.
By employing these promotion strategies, including collaborations with influential entities, building a strong social media presence, engaging with the community, forming partnerships, leveraging word of mouth, and participating in events, Saltley Stallions Women's FC was able to generate interest, attract players, and establish a reputable presence both online and offline.
What impact has Saltley Stallions Women's FC had on it's participants?
We greatly value the feedback and impact data from our participants at Saltley Stallions Women's FC. Here are some highlights of the impact and feedback we have received:
1. Increased Wellbeing:
Through our programs and activities, we have witnessed a positive impact on the overall wellbeing of our participants. Many have reported experiencing improvements in physical fitness, mental health, self-confidence, and emotional well-being. Engaging in regular physical activity through football has contributed to their overall sense of happiness and fulfilment.
2. Skill Development:
Participants have shared their appreciation for the opportunities provided by Saltley Stallions Women's FC to develop their football skills. They have noticed significant improvements in their technical abilities, tactical understanding, teamwork, and leadership skills. This growth in skills has not only enhanced their performance on the field but also translated into other aspects of their lives.
3. Empowerment and Self-Expression:
Women who have joined our club have expressed a sense of empowerment and the ability to freely express themselves through football. They have highlighted how being part of a supportive and inclusive environment has boosted their self-esteem, allowing them to embrace their identity as athletes and challenge societal stereotypes.
4. Community Connection:
Participants have appreciated the sense of community fostered at Saltley Stallions Women's FC. They have formed strong bonds with fellow players, coaches, and staff members, emphasising the positive and supportive atmosphere within the club. This connection has extended beyond the field, creating lasting friendships and a support system that transcends football.
5. Increased Opportunities:
The establishment of Saltley Stallions Women's FC has created new opportunities for women in our community to engage in football. Participants have expressed gratitude for the platform provided, as it has allowed them to pursue their passion, showcase their skills, and participate in competitive matches and tournaments. This increased visibility and recognition have opened doors to further opportunities within the sport.
The feedback and impact data from our participants reinforce our commitment to promoting women's empowerment, creating inclusive spaces, and fostering personal growth through football. We will continue to listen to their voices, address their needs, and strive to provide an environment that supports their overall well-being and aspirations.
What challenges have you faced when launching this initiative, and how did you overcome them?
Launching Saltley Stallions Women's FC was not without its challenges. We encountered several obstacles, including community buy-in, lack of funding, and limited facilities. Here's how we overcame these challenges:
1. Community Buy-In:
Initially, there were some reservations and scepticism within the community regarding women's football. To address this, we focused on building relationships and trust with community members. We organised community meetings, engaged in open dialogue, and actively listened to their concerns. By highlighting the positive impact of women's football, showcasing the benefits for individuals and the community, and emphasizing inclusivity, we gradually gained community buy-in and support.
2. Lack of Funding:
Securing adequate funding was a significant challenge for us. To overcome this, we pursued various avenues such as applying for grants, reaching out to local businesses for sponsorship opportunities, and organising fundraising events. We also sought partnerships with organisations and individuals who shared our vision and were willing to invest in women's football.
Access to suitable facilities was another challenge we faced. We worked closely with local authorities, community centers, and schools to identify and negotiate the use of available spaces for training and matches. We also collaborated with other local sports clubs and organisations to share resources and facilities. Additionally, we actively sought partnerships with facilities providers and explored creative solutions, such as temporary or shared facility arrangements, to ensure our players had appropriate spaces to train and compete.
4. Resourcefulness and Creativity:
Throughout the process, we had to be resourceful and creative in finding solutions to overcome challenges. This included leveraging community networks, engaging in grassroots fundraising efforts, and utilising alternative spaces when formal facilities were not readily available. We also tapped into the expertise and passion of volunteers within the community to help offset costs and support various aspects of the club's operations.
By addressing concerns, building relationships and finding innovative solutions for facilities, we successfully overcame the challenges that emerged during the launch of Saltley Stallions Women's FC. Our perseverance, community engagement, and ability to adapt allowed us to create a sustainable platform for women's football and provide opportunities for women in our community to thrive in the sport.
What are your plans to continue, improve or adapt your initiative moving forwards?
Moving forward, Saltley Stallions Women's FC has several plans to continue, improve, and adapt our initiative. Here are some key areas we are focusing on:
1. Developing Green Space:
We recognise the importance of having a dedicated and suitable green space for our club's activities. Our plan is to explore opportunities for developing our green space sports field that can accommodate our needs. This may involve collaborating with local authorities, community organisations, or seeking partnerships with private entities to establish a home ground for our team.
2. Installing a 3G Pitch:
To provide our players with high-quality playing surfaces, we aim to install a 3G pitch. This artificial turf will offer durability, consistent playing conditions, and the ability to withstand various weather conditions. A 3G pitch will enhance the overall football experience for our players, allowing them to train and compete on a professional-level playing surface.
3. Building Changing Rooms and Showers:
Our objective is to create a more comprehensive and comfortable environment for our players by constructing dedicated changing rooms and showers. These facilities will provide privacy, convenience, and promote good hygiene practices. Having appropriate changing and shower facilities will contribute to the overall well-being and professionalism of our team.
4. Expanding Participation and Outreach:
We aim to further expand participation and outreach by reaching out to a broader demographic of women in our community. This includes engaging with schools, community groups, and organisations to promote the benefits of women's football and encourage more individuals to join our club. We will also explore initiatives to increase accessibility and inclusivity, ensuring that women from diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to be part of Saltley Stallions Women's FC.
5. Strengthening Coaching and Development Programs:
Continuous improvement and development of our coaching programs are vital to enhance player skills and promote their growth. We plan to invest in coach education and development, ensuring that our coaches have access to the latest training methodologies and resources. By providing our coaches with ongoing support and professional development opportunities, we can ensure the highest quality of coaching for our players.
6. Sustainability and Partnerships:
We will continue to seek sustainable funding sources and establish partnerships with local businesses, sponsors, and stakeholders who share our vision. These collaborations will enable us to secure resources, access expertise, and expand our reach within the community.
By implementing these plans, Saltley Stallions Women's FC aims to provide an enhanced football experience for our players, improve the overall infrastructure and facilities, expand participation, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our initiative. We are committed to continually adapting and improving to meet the evolving needs of our players and community.
What would be your top tip for other groups that were looking to organise something similar?
Don't give up! It's so hard and challenging, you will face many hurdles and barriers but do not giver up as we need to create more opportunities for women and girls in sport.
Why you feel this initiative most closely embodies the action area 'Safe'?
This initiative of Saltley Stallions Women's FC closely embodies the "Safe" action area.
By creating an inclusive and safe space for women to participate in football, the initiative prioritises the physical and emotional well-being of its participants. The establishment of dedicated changing rooms and showers contributes to a safe and comfortable environment, ensuring privacy and promoting good hygiene practices. Additionally, the initiative's commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive atmosphere fosters a sense of safety and belonging for all players.
Furthermore, the club's focus on community engagement and building relationships helps create a safe space beyond the physical facilities. By actively listening to the concerns and needs of the community, the initiative addresses any potential barriers or hesitations, promoting a safe and welcoming environment for women to pursue their passion for football.
Overall, the emphasis on safety in terms of physical facilities, emotional well-being, and community engagement aligns with the "Safe" action area, making it the most closely embodied aspect of the Saltley Stallions Women's FC initiative.