As we look ahead to the Women’s Euros 2022, we are relaunching our #WeetabixWildcatsWednesday to share the great work our Wildcats providers are doing across London to get more girls playing football.
This month, we are speaking to Lewis Brown, who runs Wildcats at Erith Town FC about what they love most about being a Wildcats centre and how you too can join the Wildcats team.
What led you to setting up a Wildcats Centre?
We (Erith Town) decided to start our Wildcats centre alongside our Community Scheme session which we also run on a Saturday morning. When we first started our Community Scheme, we had 90 children join us for a day session which took place at King Henry Secondary School. On that day we had 20 girls attend, from this day we started running our Saturday Soccer School, we are now two years down the line from our start date and we have not looked back, our soccer school has gone from strength to strength each week. After such a great success with our Saturday Soccer School we decided that is would be a great idea to start a Wildcats centre.
Have you faced any hurdles or challenges in the process of running a Wildcats centre?
As it stands, we have not faced many hurdles since we have opened our Wildcats centre, as you can imagine the ongoing pandemic is a massive hurdle and challenge not just for us but for everyone in the UK. We keep in touch with all our members through emails and social media. We are very much looking forward to seeing what 2022 brings to Erith Town and most of all in the community. We are looking to do so much more in the coming year within the community.
What are the benefits and best part of running a Wildcats centre?
The best part of running a Wildcats centre is definitely seeing all the girls with smiles on their faces and all enjoying football. It's so important to see so many girls getting involved in football and enjoying the game. They all come back, week after week, in the cold or in the sunshine with smiles on their faces ready to play football. The girls have shown so much develop in our training sessions with their confidence and ability. There may even be the next Fran Kirby out our Wildcats centre.
What would your advice be to a club looking to start a Wildcats?
Since we have started our Wildcats centre in July 2021 we have grown massively, starting with only ten girls turning up to our first session we now have sixteen girls turning up week after week enjoying the game. You must give these things time to grow. In the coming year we will be looking to start some brand-new girls' football teams and looking to strengthen our youth section that we have at Erith Town. My advice to any team looking to start up a Wildcats centre is to go for it!
The application to become a Weetabix Wildcats centre is currently open but be quick, applications close on 31st January!
If you would like more information on how you could become a provider, please contact Shannon Hyner at email@example.com