The Big Sister project - Women In Sport

The Big Sister project

We know that everyone has a unique journey into sport and exercise so with a helping hand from teenage girls, Big Sister is here to help girls discover their own journey into getting active.

Big Sister, designed by girls for girls is a supportive and kind space to get girls to discover their journey to getting active together whilst enabling them to navigate the changes of puberty.

Our latest research tells us that just over a million teenage girls are disengaging from sport after primary school. Complex and deep-rooted negative beliefs around periods, body image and self-belief are affecting girls’ enjoyment of sport and exercise.

  • 50% of girls lack self-belief when taking part in sport.
  • 45% of girls don’t feel that they have the right body shape to participate in sport.
  • 7/10 girls told us that they avoid exercise when on their periods.

This exciting new programme led by Women in Sport and brought to you by a consortium of partners (Places Leisure, Places for People & Hey Girls) provides a supportive space with resources to inspire teenage girls to find and reclaim the joy of sport and exercise during puberty.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

Supporting the growth of women’s sport is a Government priority so we must break the cycle which sees many young girls take up exercise but then quit as they grow older and become teenagers.

“The Big Sister programme, funded by the Government’s Tampon Tax Fund, is helping to tackle this issue and is now offering free 3 – month gym memberships to 9 – 15-year-old-girls”

Big Sister Peer Mentors are at the heart of the programme and share their advice for other girls:

You don’t have anything to prove to anyone else, so go at your own pace and build up your activity levels in your own time” 

“Whatever your body size, whatever your body shape, you can do sport”

“Just try every single sport you can and eventually you’ll find something you’ll enjoy”


We’re offering FREE workshops and resources to community and sports leaders from schools, to leisure centres, to community groups and clubs. The workshops are aimed at supporting you to engage teenage girls in sport and exercise.

They’ll be delivered across Norfolk: Norwich, South Yorkshire: Sheffield & Rotherham and Derbyshire: Amber Valley in November & December.

The training consists of a face-to-face and virtual workshop, as well as access to our digital hub including wider resources sharing girls’ lived experiences and useful sources of information and advice.

Find out more here.

Watch this video to find out more about Big Sister.