'PL Changemakers empowers girls to make a change'

By Mark Orlovac 24 Apr 2024
Premier League Changemakers

Hear from aspiring female leaders in football as they attend the Premier League Changemakers celebration in Manchester

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Girls from across the country came together recently to make connections, friendships and learn about possible careers in football at the latest Premier League Changemakers celebration event, held at the iconic National Football Museum in Manchester.

Representing 27 professional football club charities, the 12-15-year-olds on the PL Changemakers programme, delivered through Premier League Inspires and Premier League Kicks, attended workshops and heard from inspirational female leaders in the game as they discussed equity, equality and allyship in football.

We heard from those taking part about the day and about what PL Changemakers means to them.

Anomiga, Palace For Life Foundation
Premier League Changemakers, Anomiga, Palace For Life Foundation

It's amazing to be a part of this. As soon as I entered the building I couldn't stop smiling. I've met so many people. It's great to see so many female footballers come from different parts of England.

It makes you feel like you're not alone. I'm with people who understand where I've come from or how it feels to play sport, especially as a girl, and the reaction you can get from playing football.

It's a unique, diverse community coming together, all females playing the sport that we love, and boosting each other in terms of motivation and confidence. What I'll take away is to be myself, to be more expressive and to open up more. 

I don't have that many South Asian female footballers to look up to and inspire me and that's why I wanted to be a part of Premier League Changemakers, I want to be able to make a change - especially in female football.

Hopefully in the future I can to be one of those role models for other South Asians who love the sport but don't have the confidence to play and express themselves.

Suria, Leeds United Foundation
Premier League Changemakers, Suria, Leeds United Foundation

Premier League Changemakers has a big impact and helps people overcome barriers they may have in their lives. 

I have been part of the programme for about a year and it's helped me a lot. It's helped me inspire other people, the girls that want to play football, to let them know that they can.

I'm very grateful because not a lot of people get the chance to be part of an event like this. It's good to see all of the female role models, it inspires you more to be one of them one day.

I'm going to take away from this celebration that women can inspire in a lot of things that they do in football. They should never let themselves get down because of other people or boys that try to stop them or trying to judge them through football.

As soon as people see me in school, they are going to ask me about it so I am going to say to them that women are making a change in football.

Chloe Morgan, former Tottenham Hotspur Women's goalkeeper & event host
Premier League Changemakers, Chloe Morgan

It's been incredible to feel so inspired by these young people. When you're face to face with girls who have these massive ambitions, playing football, sports administration, coaches, nutritionists, or taking roles in the boardroom, it's such a different landscape than the sort of things we were talking about young girls doing 20 years ago.

Looking out at the room, I was in awe. When you see the cultures, the backgrounds, the religions, the diversity in the room, it's amazing. And then you've got fantastic female role models who are supporting these young women in their journeys.

Programmes like this are really important. When you're 14 or 15 years old and you are being heard, being asked for your opinion, being asked to engage in a drama workshop, being involved in signing a shirt that's going to be in the National Football Museum, being told that your voices matter, that your experiences matter, that's absolutely huge. It's empowerment.

Kim Dixson, risk and violence reduction manager, Charlton Athletic Community Trust
Premier League Changemakers, Kim Dixson, Charlton Athletic

Working with Charlton means a lot to me. It's about giving young people lots of opportunities. Just like today with our two participants, they play football at a grassroots level but they want to progress and they want to be leaders.

It's special to be a part of this. It wouldn't have happened when I was growing up. You wouldn't have female leaders and be able to show what they're doing. Seeing the opportunities that are there for girls now, I wish I was 10 years younger! But then I know I can help these young people get on that track and do great things.

The girls will get a lot of confidence from this. We were meeting very early in the morning to get the train and they were there before me! One of the girls struggles to go to school but today, she was up early, ready to go. It's inspired something in them.

We've got them engaged and now you can have conversations with them about things you probably wouldn't normally when you haven't got that relationship with them. They'll understand how important today is for them.

Blythe, Derby County Community Trust
Premier League Changemakers, Blythe, Derby County

It's been a fun day. The activities have been really interactive. It's taught me about problems such as racism and how you can deal with them. The more people that speak about them, the more it will change.

Not many people need to say it for it to start moving, it can just be one person and then just say it, and then they can stop what they're doing.

It's good to be here with so many other people. I didn't know that there were this many girls that played football. I've learned about challenges that people face and action we can do to change things.

It's given me an insight into working in football. I want to be a coach. Being with Premier League and Derby have helped me think about that because they have taught me leadership and communication skills that I didn't have before. 

If you had said to me four years ago that I will want to become a football coach, I would not have believed you.

Grace Phillips, women and girls lead, Bristol City Robins Foundation
Premier League Changemakers, Grace Phillips, Bristol City

We delivered Premier League Changemakers last year and the girls were so inspired by it, we got to see those girls in a totally different way. The feedback we got was immense.

We saw a change in the girls. They had never mingled before and when they first came in, they were shy and no-one talked. By the last day, they were so comfortable with the surroundings that we'd made for them and they thrived. It changed their attitude around the way that they could make a change in their community and being inspired to be their best selves.

It's been great to be a part of the celebration event. The workshops are really engaging. This is the first opportunity for one of our girls and she's not stopped smiling.

We picked people to come that would benefit from the opportunity to thrive. It was about how we can inspire two people that maybe are a bit shy and allow them to go and grow. In such a welcoming environment and with our guidance, they've done that.

The skills of talking to new people they will need for life, they'll need that every day. They'll need that encouragement that they could be anything they want, every day. So this will stick with them for years.

Premier League Changemakers means empowering young people to make a change. I think that is so important, it's giving young people a voice.

Leia, Blackpool FC Community Trust
Premier League Changemakers, Leia, Blackpool

I have been part of Blackpool's Premier League Kicks programme for about a year. The coaches are there for you; it's the place, the people, everything! You feel like you want to be there, you feel comfortable, it's a safe space, it's like a second family.

I wanted to become part of Changemakers because I see how the coaches are and how they make a difference in people's lives, like they did in mine. I want to be there for someone like they were to me.

It's been a great day and I'll take from it to be more confident, to stand up more and not be scared to voice my opinion. You can see how the girls relate to each other and you can see how they are the same as you.

I'll remember today for a long time. Programmes like this are really important. A lot of girls don't want to voice their opinions or voice how they're feeling and this helps a lot of people be more confident.

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