Job search
Job Search

People profile: Jo Irving

Project manager, Sported

Published in Sports Management 2019 issue 1
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
Jo Irving is project manager at the Sported charity
Jo Irving is project manager at the Sported charity

What is Project 51?
Project 51 is a joint programme, which brings together our expertise in working with community sport groups with Women in Sport’s knowledge and insight on engaging women and girls in sport and physical activity.

We’ve called it Project 51 because 51 per cent of the UK population are female, yet when it comes to sport and physical activity, almost 1.5 million more men than women are playing sport once per week. The programme aims to help community sport groups in deprived areas become more inclusive by breaking down the gender stereotypes that prevent more women and girls from getting active. For example, only 43 per cent of girls say they have the same choices as boys at school in terms of sport and exercise, and amongst secondary school-age children, being ‘sporty’ is still widely seen as a masculine trait.

What led to this programme being created?
Over the last ten years we’ve built this incredible membership network of 3,000 community groups across the length and breadth of the UK, all using sport for social change. Our mission is to strengthen their sustainability and build their capacity to reach and change even more young lives.

We know many of our members would like to start or expand work with girls but don’t know how to do it. Project 51 lays the foundations, and through a partnership with Women in Sport provides insight, training and a structured plan to take them forward to becoming more inclusive and accessible.

Project 51 is funded by Comic Relief’s Levelling the Field initiative. It builds upon the work of a successful pilot we ran in Northern Ireland called Engage Her, which has seen great success.

How does it work?
Project 51 is all about fostering long-term sustainable change by empowering and upskilling the staff and volunteers of community sport groups. Women in Sport has some fantastic insight and resources on attracting and retaining women and girls into sport. By training and upskilling our own field team and volunteers, we can help disseminate this knowledge to our members.

Through Project 51 we help our members with things such as how to market and promote their activities to women and girls, consulting and adapting sessions to meet their needs, and monitoring and evaluating their impact.

Tell us about Young Influencers
We felt it was really important to involve our target demographic in shaping and informing the programme, as they are best placed to help create change within their group and community. So we asked participating groups to nominate girls who were role models and peer influencers within their groups and clubs.

We selected a group of seven amazingly talented and confident girls who became our Young Influencers. They take part in focus groups, write blogs, launched their own Instagram page and shared their experiences on-stage in front of a live audience of industry experts and decision makers at Women in Sport’s Empower conference and Sported’s tenth anniversary event.

What impact has the project had so far?
Project 51 is improving the lives of girls across the country. Girls from participating groups are telling us they have more opportunities to be successful and active and are more positive about their futures.

Project 51 came along at the perfect time for our members. It’s fitted in with their strategic aims to engage more women and girls and they’ve all really embraced it, particularly around consulting their members about their needs and listening to their views around what could be done to improve the overall experience.

Many of our groups have launched new girls-only sessions, while others have revamped their marketing. But for me it’s the smaller success stories, which could easily go unnoticed, that show our impact. For example, one group working in a particularly deprived community has started providing free sanitary products to help their girls feel more confident and comfortable attending training. It’s stuff like this that makes me proud to be a part of the project.

What are your plans for the project?
We’re now in the second year of the programme and we’ll be working with another fifteen groups. Alongside this, we’ve recently been awarded a grant from the London Marathon Charitable Trust to launch a similar programme, focusing on London and the South East. These funds will allow us to open out the opportunity for all our members.

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Sports jobs
Everyone Active
featured job

Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive hourly rate
Job location: Nationwide

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £9.00 per hour
Location: Reading, UK

Personal / Fitness Trainer - Wealdstone

The Gym Group
Salary: Fantastic Benefits
Location: London, England

Climbing Instructor

GLL
Salary: Up to £9.00 per hour
Location: Amersham, UK

Spa Therapist

GLL
Salary: Up to £10.38 per hour (including annual leave)
Location: Welwyn Garden City, UK

Ice Assistant

GLL
Salary: £8.21
Location: Swindon, UK

Duty Manager

Mytime Active
Salary: £20,000 - £25,000 per annum
Location: Bromley, UK

Recreation Assistant / Lifeguard

Mytime Active
Salary: £17,076.80 per annum pro rata
Location: Bromley, UK

Operations Manager

Mytime Active
Salary: £27,000 - £32,000 per annum
Location: Beckenham, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum
Location: Wimbledon, London, UK
recruiting with sports management

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum
Location: Ruislip, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £10.55 per hour
Location: South Norwood, London, UK

Swimming Teacher

GLL
Salary: Up to £12.79 per hour
Location: Falmouth, Cornwall, UK

Ice Supervisors

GLL
Salary: Up to £17,977 per annum
Location: Swindon, UK

Catering Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA
Location: Manchester, UK

Head Chef

GLL
Salary: Up To £19,775 PA
Location: Manchester, UK

Head Chef

GLL
Salary: Up To £19,775 PA (based on 39 hours per week)
Location: Stuart Street, Manchester M11 4DQ, UK
recruiting with sports management

Swim School Supervisor

GLL
Salary: Up to £21,074 per annum
Location: Stoke Newington, London, UK

Swim School Supervisor

GLL
Salary: Up to £17,977 per annum
Location: Vale of White Horse District, UK

General Manager

The Gym Group
Salary: Competitive salary plus benefits
Location: Waterloo, London, UK

Team Leader / Trainee Duty Manager

Harlow Leisurezone
Salary: Competitive Salary + Benefits
Location: Harlow, UK

Recreation Assistant

Legacy Leisure
Salary: Competitive
Location: Ilkeston, UK

Skytrain Instructor

Legacy Leisure
Salary: £8.21 per hour
Location: Nottingham, UK

Skytrail Instructor

Legacy Leisure
Salary: £8.21 per hour
Location: Nottingham, UK
training with sports management

Leisure Assistant

Oundle School Sports Centre
Salary: £9.95 per hour
Location: Oundle, Peterborough, UK

Female Fitness Studio Manager

SportsJobs4Women
Salary: UK £1,900 / month + commissions (OTEs of UK £3,000)
Location: Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Level 1 and 2 Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive salary
Location: Bristol, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 per annum
Location: Manchester, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 per annum
Location: Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,930 PA (based on 39 hours per week)
Location: Manchester, UK

Duty Manager

GLL
Salary: Up to £25,655 per annum
Location: West Norwood, London, UK
lifeguard jobs  swimming teacher jobs  recreation assistant jobs  apprenticeships jobs  personal trainer jobs  Gymnastics Coach jobs  duty manager jobs  assistant manager jobs  general manager jobs  assistant general manager jobs  Catering Assistant jobs  Customer Services Advisor jobs 
More jobs

Video Gallery

Wattbike
Introducing two new products to our commercial fleet.
Visit website
More videos

Company profile

Company profile: Precor
For more than 35 years, Precor has driven fitness forward. We continue that heritage every day, by advancing what’s possible in design innovation, member experience and service.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Crown Sports Lockers to launch sector first at IHS 2019
Crown Sports Locker will launch a waterproof locker that will open the door to facilities demanding a sustainable solution for wet changing areas.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Diary dates

21-22 Nov 2019
JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, Aventura
29 Nov 2019
The King’s Fund, London, United Kingdom
10-12 Dec 2019
tbc, Fort Lauderdale, United States
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
More diary dates