Here come the girls

2 April 2019 | North East England

Milly Keyne of Hat Trick

Inspiration football coach Milly encourages girls to play football.

Meet inspiration football coach Milly Kyne who works with the award-winning WAGS programme which encourages thousands of girls in the city to take up football.

The 18-year-old works with pupils at Rainbird Primary School in Newcastle who attend the free breakfast club every day, aiming to get them active and healthy through sport. Her particular focus is on getting girls playing football.

Milly, who is studying for a PE and sport degree at Sunderland University, is determined to give the next generation of girls - whatever their circumstances - the opportunity to play the sport.

Looking at her, it’s hard to believe then that as a young girl she actually hated any physical activity. It was only when she joined a programme called WAGS - Women and Girls’ Soccer - that things changed. She went on to volunteer for them before becoming one of their key coaches, hoping to transform the lives of the next generation.

“I was one of those kids who hated sport, especially doing PE with the boys at school,” she recalls. “But then the WAGS came into my school and it opened my mind. I was only eight then but from then that my life changed. I thought, yes, I can do this. Now I want to make young girls see that they can do the same. Sport can make a difference.”

The WAGS programme was launched by charity Hat-Trick which has been working with young people in Newcastle's West End, and across the city, since 2005.

It delivers sport sessions in schools and community settings throughout Newcastle and the North East, and works with 2,000 children per week, working in the most disadvantaged areas.

It runs in schools and youth organisations throughout Newcastle and the North East, and since it was founded, more than 10,000 children and young people have taken part in free football-based projects.

The aim is about much more than sport. They look to help the children gain life skills and confidence, and of course make exercise a part of their normal lives.

“Sport really can change lives,” says Hat-Trick Sport Manager Emma Brown. “I’ve seen young people change their attitude, change their behaviour, and become better people.”

Emma, 40, developed and launched the WAGS programme for Hat-Trick in 2009 and remembers Milly starting out. She was one of the pupils who enjoyed a programme that Hat-Trick put on in schools. Once the eight-week scheme ended girls aged 8-11 were invited to join the WAGS development centre. The most talented are put into local teams.

“When I started the project for Hat-Trick they only had boys playing football,” says Emma. “I wanted to show girls like Milly that they could do just as well. When I started, I remember people telling me I would have a hard time getting girls into football, but that has not been the case at all. It’s been really popular and it makes me feel good that we are helping develop the next generation.”

Milly’s mentor Kate Codling added: “We spotted Milly’s talent for volunteering because of her enthusiasm to help and encourage people. She completed her first course with Hat-Trick, a Level 1 Qualification in Sports Leaders and gained many other qualifications along the way.

“She proved herself to be mature, motivated, organised and a massive hit with the young people. Her progress has been outstanding from starting off as a shy young girl who hated sport to a blossoming young woman who after volunteering for so long now loves many sports, both playing and coaching.”

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