By Lucy Rickett
“At a time when the world of sport is changing, I created Step Forward to get more women involved in the wider world of women’s sport; reading, watching, learning, and trying something new.”
I remember at University making a facebook group called ‘casual football kick-around fun’, the idea being to get a group of girlfriends together for a kick about, and it not be the coffee-brunch combination (although this 100% has its place). Later that day someone I added to the group asked me if I had been ‘fraped’… needless to say it wasn’t a success. Looking back now all I was trying to do was create something different to do at the weekends.
Over the years, I have learnt sport is one of those areas in life that can bring you the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It can build resilience, give you drive, and give you an understanding of yourself and other people, but most of all it brings people together. Whether that’s going to an exercise class, meeting your friends for a swim or playing for your country; sport helps us weather life's storms and (the majority of the time) makes us feel great, and gives us a bit of a buzz, creating good mental fitness and a positive community.
Right now the world is going through a pretty bad storm, and sport has definitely not been immune, but this period has also taught us how important sport is for keeping us sane and positive.
There has been amazing progression in the editorial and general focus on elite women’s sport which is essential for shaping the future and inspiring young girls, and the success of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign has got more women moving.
But one thing I’ve increasingly noticed when talking to friends who don’t work in sport, and haven’t been involved in elite sport (yet still love it), is that they wouldn’t read, watch or get involved in anything past just keeping active, because well - that’s just not what we talk about. This is a far cry from some of my male friends who sit and discuss Strava, the Tour, or transfer deadline day.
During furlough I noticed that I was still getting the buzz of sport by reading about initiatives I didn’t know existed, watching documentaries about women doing amazing things, and listening to great podcasts. I felt inspired and this got me thinking, how can we use this time to get more women involved in the wider world of women’s sport to keep up the momentum and spark conversation from the bottom-up.
Imagine the target audience of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign talking to each other about that documentary of the women who swam the channel, or the lady next door who just took up cold water swimming. There is also a lack of conversation surrounding certain areas that prevent women from getting active, be it mental or physical health and I wanted to bring this all together.
So I started Step Forward, I wanted to create a community where:
People can collaborate on articles that they feel are important to talk about when it comes to women being active, helping people feel like ‘yeah I’ve felt that, or wondered that’.
Encourage women to get more involved in; watching, reading, and listening to women’s sport.
Inspire women to try something new and celebrate the people out there doing amazing things.
It’s a small step in hopefully making sport more than just ‘putting on active wear’, and maybe the brunch-coffee combination in the future will have women talking about that ultra swim challenge they read about, or that blog that made them take up cycling.
We’re looking for ambassadors and collaborators in different counties across the UK to get involved, so if you or someone you know is keen to be involved get in touch at