This Girl Can ambassadors recognised for their dedication to support local women to be active during lockdown

This Girl Can ambassadors recognised for their dedication to support local women to be active during lockdown

Posted: Sat, 26 Sep 2020 08:00

This Girl Can ambassadors recognised for their dedication to support local women to be active during lockdown

As part of the Great British Week of Sport, Active Suffolk are celebrating the success of our local This Girl Can ambassadors, whilst also inviting more local women to get involved with the campaign.

Active Suffolk lead the local This Girl Can campaign, a national movement developed by Sport England which aims to bridge the gap between the disproportionate number of women participating in sport and physical activity compared to men. The campaign has grown tremendously over the years where it has supported nearly three million women to participate in sport and exercise through celebrating active females no matter their size, background or ability.

The team at Active Suffolk have successfully recruited over 40 local This Girl Can ambassadors who work to inspire other women to be more active and overcome barriers to participating in sport and physical activity across the county.

Laura Beale from the This Girl Can team at Active Suffolk said:

"The This Girl Can ambassadors in Suffolk work as advocates for physical activity. They share their own experiences to inspire other females to overcome barriers to sport and exercise!

Some of our ambassadors work in the leisure sector, whilst others have a passion for sport and physical activity and want to share their story. The work of all of our ambassadors is powerful in helping to reassure women that no matter what obstacles they may be faced, they can get involved in sport and activity."

The recent Lockdown Activity Hero campaign led by Active Suffolk, has really brought to light the impact of the local ambassadors across the county. The campaign which aimed to celebrate the selfless dedication and efforts of local people during lockdown received 382 nominations, recognising over 50 local people as physical activity champions. Amongst them were six, This Girl Can ambassadors who were all nominated and recognised by local people as a Lockdown Activity Hero through their efforts to inspire, motivate and deliver physical activity.

Charlotte Ditchburn, This Girl Can ambassador from Debenham joined the team earlier this year and her ongoing efforts on social media to promote physical activity, whilst speaking of her personal experience of post-traumatic stress disorder has been particularly supportive for local women during the recent lockdown.

One woman who nominated Charlotte said:

"Her efforts have hugely impacted my life from feeling isolated and trapped within my own four walls she inspired me and gave me the confidence to get active in my own way. I've even managed my first ever wild swim."

She went on to say:

"I thought lockdown would ruin all my hard work to rebuild my mental state but with a bit of inspiration from Charlotte I've discovered new places to get some head space and to do what I feel is achievable without comparing my progress to others."

Rachel Bond, a local fitness instructor at The Fitness Unit in Ipswich is also a This Girl Can ambassador who was recognised for her ongoing dedication to inspire and motivate women to be active during lockdown.

One of her members, who is also a key worker said:

"The impact she has had on my physical and emotional well-being and health cannot be underestimated. It has been so tough for so many, but she gave me a challenge and a focus to keep mentally and physically fit."

Other local ambassadors nominated and recognised for their efforts to support local women to be active during the lockdown include Michelle Buckley who delivered online zoom sessions from her garden, Helen Duggan who kept her usual Pilates group running online and Emma Talbot, who worked tirelessly to keep her women's only running club I can Run, well connected and motivated to continue moving in which ever way worked for them. In addition, Sarah Ann Gray also kept her Zumba groups active online, supporting women including 102-year-old Joan from Felixstowe to keep moving to the sounds of Latino music.

Sarah Ann Gray, This Girl Can ambassador and Zumba instructor in the Ipswich area said:

"I am so pleased to have been nominated as a Lockdown Activity Hero. I taught lots of online classes during the lockdown, 7 of which were free. I wasn't earning enough to cover my bills, but it kept us all going, and I am so pleased it continued to inspire local women to keep active."

The selfless actions of our This Girl Can ambassadors in Suffolk came at a time when women really needed the additional inspiration and encouragement to continue exercising from home. Research conducted throughout lockdown and published by Sport England highlighted an increased divide between the number of women and men meeting the governments recommended guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity over five days of the week, with only 24% of women meeting these recommendations, compared to 30% of men. It is now more important than ever to continue promoting opportunities for women and helping to break down barriers to sport and physical activity in an attempt to close this gap.

Active Suffolk are continuing to recruit new This Girl Can ambassadors who are passionate about supporting women to be active. Further information about the campaign and the opportunity to be involved can be found at

Tags: Active Suffolk, Activity, Exercise, Female participation, Lockdown Activity Hero, Sport, This Girl Can, Women In Sport