‘Important investment’: Girls’ football team in plea for council funding amid concern for its future

Footballers from Islington District Girls Team ask for support to fund their team.

Footballers from Islington District Girls’ Team ask for support to fund their team. Photograph: Julia Gregory

Girls are asking Islington Council to help fund their football teams so they can follow in the footsteps of England’s Lionesses.

Players from Islington District Girls’ Team (IDGT) are asking for support to grow the beautiful game.

A group of young footballers showed off their skills outside Islington Town Hall before a recent full council meeting.

Parents said there are more boys’ teams in the borough.

They want backing to help fund Year Six and Year Seven girls’ teams for under-11s and under-12s.

IDGT players train at Highbury Fields and recently won the Hackney schools trophy.

Holly, 11, said: “Football is really important. I’ve played since I was seven. I really enjoy it.”

Gracie has joined the West Ham under-12s since she started playing two years ago.

She said: “Rather than sitting at home, I’m doing some exercise. It’s really important.”

Parent Simon Watson said the team needs £2,500 to help pay for pitches and coaches.

“It’s an important investment for women’s and girls’ sport.”

Another parent, Fiona Bullman, addressed Islington Council to ask for backing in this World Cup year.

She said: “There’s an appetite for the sport but we do not have enough money to continue with the team.”

They were initially funded through Arsenal, and also had a grant from Barclays, but now need more funds to support the team.

Some 50 girls enjoy playing and Bullman said it is vital to encourage them to develop a lifelong involvement in sport.

She added: “There are many barriers to girls’ football.”

Cllr Nurullah Turan, executive member for health and social care, said the council will be launching a new sport and physical activity programme.

The council is looking at long-term funding and is also working with Sport Islington to support people’s activity in the borough.

He welcomed the club’s application for funding.