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These girls can - rugby star sisters supporting council campaign to get New Forest women active

Bryony and Poppy Cleall supporting #thisgirlcanNewForest Rugby-playing sisters Poppy and Bryony Cleall returned to their New Forest roots at the end of August to inspire a new generation of female and male rugby players and remind them that #ThisGirlCan.

Poppy Cleall plays for Saracens RFC and England, while her sister Bryony is also a Saracens player. They returned to Ellingham and Ringwood Rugby Club (ERRFC), where their love of the game began as young players. The sisters spent two days training junior players as part of the ERRFC rugby camp. While there, they took a short break to help promote our #ThisGirlCanNewForest campaign.

#ThisGirlCan is a national Sport England initiative which aims to encourage more women to be active, no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets. We have launched #ThisGirlCanNewForest to help empower local women to overcome any fear of judgement preventing them from taking part in activity and will provide more information, inspiration and opportunities to help the district's women and girls get active. The New Forest has the biggest gap in activity levels between men and women in Hampshire (with men being among the most active in the county, women the least). Calling for support for the campaign, Poppy said:

"Women and girls can be put off taking part because of what they think people will say about the way they look or how good they think they are. Seeing other women and girls, like them, who are active in their everyday lives, can overcome the fear of judgement and help to encourage them to get involved. That is why," continued Poppy, "with the council, we are asking women and girls, who are active, whatever age or ability, to support the campaign. Talk about what you enjoy about your activity, encourage your friends and family, and share the #ThisGirlCanNewForest hashtag on your social media to show others it is OK to be active."

Councillor James Binns, NFDC's portfolio holder for leisure and wellbeing, said:
"It is brilliant to have Bryony and Poppy's support for #ThisGirlCanNewForest. They are fantastic role models in a sport which has traditionally been seen as a man's sport, and the barriers they may have faced have not stopped them succeeding. We want every woman and girl to enjoy and benefit from being active, at whatever level; whether that is walking the dog or playing in the park with your kids, joining one of our fantastic local sports clubs or taking a class at one of NFDC's leisure centres, increasing our activity levels benefits our physical and mental wellbeing."

He continued: "There is something for everyone and no one should feel excluded from getting active. More inspiration and information on ways to get active can be found on our website at newforest.gov.uk/healthandleisure, under the 'Let's Be Active' section."

More information on #ThisGirlCan from thisgirlcan.co.uk .

Published: 12 Sep 2018
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