Women in Sport in partnership with the Fatherhood Institute, Fulham Football Club and the EFL Trust wins National Lottery funding from Sport England to help dads and daughters get active together

October 2018

Daughters and Dads participants


Women in Sport in partnership with the Fatherhood Institute, Fulham Football club and the EFL Trust is celebrating after being awarded £118,301 of National Lottery funding from Sport England to help low income families in London get active with their children over the next year. The programme will replicate a programme which was designed by the University of Newcastle, Australia. It will specifically target dads and daughters in the UK.

Sport England’s Active Lives Survey reveals that only 54% of adults on a low income and with children are active, compared to 71% of those in higher-income groups. Girls in lower socio-economic groups are even less likely to be active, with half of girls aged 5-15 in families with the lowest household income doing less than 30 minutes daily outside school (Health Survey for England, 2015).  Overall only 26% of girls aged 5 -7 meet Chief Medical Officer guidelines for physical activity outside school. By age 13-15, this drops to just 9%.

Parents often see their role as helpers rather than role models in encouraging their children to be active. Research by the University of Newcastle (Australia) found that fathers are less involved with their daughters than mothers, tend to spend less time with daughters than sons and don’t acknowledge their role in fostering their daughters’ physical activity behaviours.

Sport England has dedicated a £40-million National Lottery funding pot to address this by helping families get active together, and Women in Sport in partnership with the Fatherhood Institute, Fulham Football Club and the EFL Trust is one of 10 to receive awards in the latest round of investments.

The fund is a key part of Sport England’s focus on helping young people have an enjoyable experience of sport and physical activity, so they develop a positive attitude towards being active at an early age and continue being active in later life.

Sport England are funding organisations that help families get active together, because parents and close family members can have a big impact on children’s experiences. Parents who are active themselves and enjoy it can encourage positive feelings about exercise and its value in their children. Yet many parents lack the skills or confidence to take part in sport with their children as they fear they cannot keep up.

Each of the funded projects will work to address this by building adults’ confidence around getting active with their children, and by providing experiences for families that are enjoyable, convenient and low cost.

With this new National Lottery funding, a programme targeting daughters and their dads, developed by University of Newcastle (Australia) Professor Philip Morgan and his team, will encourage fathers/father-figures to play a greater role in supporting their daughters to develop physical confidence and competence and involve girls aged 5-11 in shaping how their families get active together.

Professor Morgan commented: “By harnessing the unique relationship between fathers and daughters, our programme has been shown to significantly improve the physical activity levels of families in Australia. It is very exciting to be involved in the world first adaptation of the programme and to examine the impact on families in the UK”

Fulham Football club will deliver weekly 90-minute group sessions combining practical and educational activities, the programme teaches girls sports skills through fun games and physical activities and educates fathers about positive lifestyle role-modelling and parenting strategies.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:

“This will encourage families to get involved in sport together and increase opportunities for people to get active in their local community. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this programme will have on people’s health – both physical and mental – and how it can help nurture a life-long love of sport and physical activity.”

Mike Diaper, Sport England’s Executive Director, said:

“Parents have many demands on their time and can lack confidence in how to get active with their children. That’s why Sport England is working hard to make getting active or playing sport with your children an easier choice. It doesn’t matter what people do or how good they are, having fun together is what is important and helps ensure children continue to be active adults.”

Ruth Holdaway, CEO Women in Sport, said:

‘We and all of our partners are delighted to have received funding from the National Lottery to fund this important work, enabling us to challenge stereotypes about girls playing sport, and increase fathers’ confidence and ability to act as role models in relation to their daughter’s participation in sport and physical activity.’


For more information contact:        

Florence Lloyd-Hughes, Campaigns and Communications Officer

Mobile: 07900 913037 Out of Hours Media Office: 07900 195 538



Notes to Editors

 About Sport England

Sport England is a public body and invests up to £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport.

It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active – like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.

About Women in Sport

Women in Sport is the leading charity dedicated to empowering women and girls through sport. Our vision is a society where women and men have equal opportunities. Women and girls are missing out on the lifelong benefits of sport. We want to change this, now, for every woman and girl in the UK.

We are the only organisation in the UK that researches sport purely from the perspective of women and girls. We use the insight gained to drive change through campaigns and partnerships.

About the partners

The Fatherhood Institute has delivered their Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) programme to over 7,000 fathers and their primary-aged children in five deprived areas of England for the past 5 years. This includes work with fathers in BAME communities in Bradford, Luton, the West Midlands and London. The charity’s work in diverse communities includes adapting materials and images so they portray and appeal to “someone like me” and are accessible to parents with lower literacy levels or English as an additional language.

Fulham FC Foundation has a strong track record of improving health and wellbeing amongst children and adults in deprived areas of London through its Health Champions programme, which combines educational workshops and physical activity. The Foundation also delivered fanActiv, a health intervention targeting overweight or inactive male football fans.

The EFL Trust is a national charity that uses the power of football to change people’s lives.

The EFL Trust unites the inspirational work delivered across England and Wales by the dedicated network Football Club Community Organisations associated to the 72 EFL clubs.

Last year, the network engaged over 1 million people using the power of football to improve health, inspire education, reduce crime, increase participation in activity and tackle many difficult social issues like drug abuse, counter extremism and homelessness.

The Trust tackles society’s greater goals by inspiring people through powerful projects built upon a foundation of our four key themes – sport, education and employability, community engagement and health.

The University of Newcastle (UON) Australia is a research-intensive University focused on improving the quality of life in our regions and around the globe. Our academics, students and staff pursue innovative solutions to the world’s great challenges.

Ranked 214 of the world’s universities, UON is a leader in driving engagement, innovation and impact in areas of national and global significance, including health and medicine, sustainable energy and resources, and the humanities.

Recognised for its commitment to equity and excellence in higher education and research, UON has campuses in Newcastle, the Central Coast, Port Macquarie, Sydney and Singapore. UON enrols more than 37,000 students from diverse backgrounds, with a focus on developing the world’s next generation of socially-oriented leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.