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New 'This Girl Can' campaign launches in Liverpool

THIS Girl Can, Sport England's award-winning campaign to help women get active, has turned its attention to tackling the exercise Enjoyment Gap, with a launch event in Liverpool kick starting efforts to get more women exercising regularly and enjoying sport.

A recent study from Sport England found 2.4 million fewer women than men strongly agree they find sport and exercise enjoyable and satisfying. With enjoyment 1 of the biggest motivators for people to take part in sport and physical activity; and with less than 60% of women active compared to over 63% of men, closing the Enjoyment Gap is an important step towards tackling the stubborn gender activity gap.

The findings have led to This Girl Can moving into a new phase of its campaign:- 'This Girl Can With You,' which got underway in Liverpool this week, with a networking event at:- The Florrie, on Mill Street, bringing together key local decision makers, anchor organisations and physical activity providers.

With Mayor Joanne Anderson in attendance and chaired by Radio City's Leanne Campbell, the event attracted organisations from across the Region, and included talks from Abigail Mobey, a This Girl Can ambassador, Kelly Barton from VISPA (Visually Impaired Sport and Physical Activities) Liverpool; and the Pocklington Trust and Amy Crees of This Girl Can.

Attendees also got the chance to hear about the brilliant work being done to empower and support women in Liverpool by organisations including:- 4Wings, Torus Foundation, Mamafit UK, and Women on Bikes.

And as well as a productive networking session, the launch event also included a discussion of the practical and emotional barriers preventing women from getting active; with some startling data shared by This Girl Can.

The campaign's Research found 33% women say they feel too tired or don't have enough energy to be physically active; 29% don't feel motivated enough, and 31% say they don't have enough time.

Fear of judgement prevails, with key concerns for women including worries about not being fit enough (41%), what other people think of them (32%), showing their body (31%), being on their period (24%) and wearing tight clothing (20%). Over a third (38%) of women say they have felt judged when exercising.

Safety fears are another significant barrier to women enjoying exercise. 22% say they're concerned about sexual harassment when doing sport and physical activity, a statistic that almost doubles (41%) when outdoors in the dark. 3 in 10 have experienced harassment 1st hand while exercising, mostly on streets and in parks. 66% worry about other personal safety.

This Girl Can has identified 4 action areas with the power to close the Enjoyment Gap.

Activities for women must be Social (help women feel part of a community), Suitable (meet women's needs), Self Affirming (help women feel confident) and Safe (women must feel physically and emotionally safe when taking part).

'This Girl Can With You' will help organisations across the local sport and physical activity sector develop solutions in response to the 4 action areas.

The plan locally is to harness the determination and best practice on show at the launch and build momentum across the City to ensure women throughout Liverpool have the opportunity to enjoy getting active.

To learn more about This Girl Can Liverpool, visit:- ThisGirlCanLiverpool.Co.UK.

To learn more about The Enjoyment Gap and This Girl Can, visit:- ThisGirlCan.Co.UK.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson said:- "Liverpool has supported Sport England since 2015 in promoting the national This Girl Can programme, and we continue to collaborate with an amazing network of local providers to offer opportunities to get and stay active and support the health and wellbeing of women and girls in the City. Research shows that the Pandemic and cost of living crisis have had a disproportionate impact on women, meaning they have less to spend on weekly budgets and less time to spend on themselves. As a result, their activity levels have fallen. Work is needed to close this gap, with a focus on making activity more safe, social, self-affirming and suitable for women. We want to ensure women and girls feel safe and empowered to take part in any activities they want to, so are now looking at links between Liverpool This Girl Can and Liverpool's VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) strategy. As part of this phase of the campaign, we will reshape women's experiences, make activity more inclusive and challenge 1 another to act on women's needs."

Kate Dale, Director of Marketing at Sport England, commented:- "Women deserve to get active as much as men; we want all women to benefit from the physical, mental and social rewards of an active life. The barriers faced by women and girls in 2023 loom large and are deeply embedded in our society. So we are rallying the sport and activity industry to join us to close the Enjoyment Gap by making sure activities for women are social, suitable, self affirming and safe."

This Girl Can ambassador, Kelly Barton from VISPA Liverpool said:- "I am blind and at the age of 40 I had never done any sport or physical activity, but I wanted to get fit. At the time, my GP had trained as a guide runner and offered to guide me at my local parkrun and that's how it all started for me. I went on to do 10K's and half marathons before eventually doing the London Marathon (something that I never thought I would be capable of achieving). It doesn't matter what your age, ability or fitness level is, there's always a sport you can try and it doesn't matter at what level. Getting involved in sports has improved my own wellbeing and has made me feel so much more confident in other areas of my life."

Opera, trains and submarines star in Eurovision inspired Cultural Festival

THE 1st details of a two-week cultural festival:- 'EuroFest' which will take over Liverpool in the lead up to The Eurovision Song Contest have been unveiled.

Running from:- Monday, 1 May 2023 to Sunday, 14 May 2023, the festival will present 24 brand new commissions; 19 of which are collaborations between UK and Ukrainian artists; who will transform the City as fans from across the world descend on Liverpool.

Although full details of all of the commissions will not be announced until late March, organisers have revealed headline plans for 4 of the projects, along with the names of all of the organisations taking part.

The majority of the work being produced has been inspired by the Eurovision 2023 slogan:- 'United by Music,' none more so than The Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade by The Kazimier; a huge outdoor underwater sea disco which will make its way through the City to kickstart the Eurovision Party. Working with UK and Ukrainian designers, musicians and community groups, expect hundreds of performers, incredible music and a huge glitterball jellyfish. This is a mass participation event and more details on how to get involved will be announced in the coming weeks.

The English National Opera does Eurovision is being created by the English National Opera and will be a unique show bringing together 2 very different musical worlds into 1 epic outdoor performance with live chorus and orchestra. Joyful, moving and loud, this project promises to perfectly capture the spirit of Eurovision.

On a more poignant note, Izyum to Liverpool by Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska, will transform the iconic Liverpool Cathedral into a train carriage replicating the journey from Izyum to the border with Poland. Filmed in real time, this piece offers an extraordinary window into the landscape of Ukraine as it is today and also serves as a reminder of the spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people.

Finally, Rave Ukraine is a collaboration between producer Jez Collins, UAME I Music Saves UA and Open Culture to deliver a simultaneous rave in Liverpool and Kyiv which will be streamed across the world. This commission is a celebration of the uniting power of music and the resilience of Ukrainians throughout the last year to keep making music, dancing and celebrating culture.

The list of collaborators taking part in EuroFest which can be revealed are:-

Amigo and Amigo, Svitlana Reinish, Anton Dehtiarov, M3 Industries, Black_Box.

Artists on the Frontline and Parade-Fest.

BBC Storyville Live.

Black Gold Arts, First Take, Homotopia, Hackney Showroom and RubyLemon.

Bluecoat and The Jam Factory, Lviv.

English National Opera.

Go Fly Your Kite and the Junior Academy of Science Kyiv.

Invisible Wind Factory.


Jez Collins, UAME I Music Saves UA and Open Culture.

Liverpool Cathedral and Katya Buchatska.

Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Sheep Soup.

Port and Katya Taylor.

Natalie McCool, Stealing Sheep, Krapka;KOMA and Helleroid.

National Museums Liverpool.

Northern Town and Jeanefer Jean-Charles and Associates.

Open Eye Gallery.

The Reading Agency and BBC Arts.

Slukh.Media, Sonia Chapman and Perfectionist.London.

Tate Liverpool.

Unity Theatre and Yurii Radionov.

Whispered Tales and Denys Kashchei.

The chosen commissions were selected through a process which included the BBC, British Council, Ukrainian Institute and Culture Liverpool. An initial call out in December attracted almost 700 responses of which 50 were shortlisted and supported in the development of their idea. The names announced today are the artists who have been selected for EuroFest from that shortlist.

EuroFest has been made possible thanks to support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

More details around the Schools and community programme, plans for the EuroVillage and other Eurovision specific events will be made public in the coming weeks.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said:- "For Liverpool, Eurovision is much more than the Grand Final on 13 May. This amazing collection of artists will ensure that everyone who wants to be part of the Eurovision journey can do so for a whole fortnight leading up to the big day. The planned projects are joyful, hopeful, ambitious and moving - as you would expect from the unique circumstances in which we are hosting this event. Once again, Liverpool is using its incredible creative credentials to tell a story, and in doing so, engage a wide audience in a narrative that impacts us all. I am particularly proud that we are able to provide a platform for so many brilliant Ukrainian artists and musicians and that our local cultural sector has welcomed them with such warmth and spirit. I can't wait until we can reveal all of the details so that everyone can start planning their EuroFest trip!"

Eurovision Minister Stuart Andrew, said:- "The Eurovision Song Contest will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our shared love of music and the cultural programme in Liverpool is filled with brilliant entertainment. The commissions range from the wacky to the poignant and I am pleased that the programme has strong involvement from our Ukrainian friends. I look forward to seeing each commission come to life in May."

Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko said:- "The EuroFest cultural festival is an excellent opportunity to showcase Ukrainian culture and creativity to the world. I am thrilled to see so many talented Ukrainian artists collaborating with their British counterparts to create unique and inspiring projects celebrating our shared love of music and culture. As we continue to build up closer ties between Ukraine and the UK, events like EuroFest will help to deepen our cultural connections and foster greater understanding and appreciation of each other's traditions and heritage."

Talking about her commission, Ukrainian artist, Katya Buchatska, said:- "This multi channel video installation will show the train journey from Eastern Ukraine to the West revealing views of the liberated Ukrainian Cities to apparently stiller landscapes of Cities in Western Ukraine. For many the train is the only means to escape war. Railway workers are considered heroes, risking their lives to help people travel out of the country. Izyum to Liverpool is about the fragility of our environment, our lives and of the landscape surrounding us. It is about the loss of certainties, of home, without knowing if you will ever be able to return. It is a one-way journey. It provokes a shift in the state of mind. Even if you are farther away from the front line, and in a safer environment, this feeling of loss and uncertainty stays with you."

Director of Culture Liverpool, Claire McColgan CBE, said:- "A programme like this with its complexities and depth would take at least a year in development. A huge amount of credit needs to be given to the artists from the UK and Ukraine who understand the speed at which we are working, and have opened their hearts and minds to create something truly brilliant. Even in these early planning stages the positive response has been overwhelming and incredibly exciting; and of course with a project of this size and scale there will be some unexpected twists along the way, but we have to remember this is Eurovision; so anything can happen!"

Managing Director, BBC Eurovision 2023, Martin Green, said:- "These commissions perfectly sum up this year's contest with music, storytelling and of course the best of British and Ukrainian culture at their heart. I cannot wait to see them all come to life this May, especially the glitterball jellyfish!"

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