Sweaty Betty Foundation

The Foundation was launched in March 2021, and during our first year we’re learning as much as we can about the best ways to support girls and help them to get active.

Globally, only 15% of teenage girls are doing enough physical activity. The changes to girls’ bodies during puberty, especially starting their periods and their breasts developing, has a huge impact on their body confidence and their confidence doing physical activity.

We want to change this. So we’ll be working across three pillars to empower girls to get active:

We’ve already decided on our first projects for each pillar and will use what we learn during 2021 to set out a more detailed plan for the coming years.

We will not be running an open grants programme under any of our pillars, or in any specific geographic area.

Where we work

We will initially focus our work on a small number of areas within the UK and US, with a view to maximising long-lasting impact.

We reviewed geographic data relevant to our strategy, including income and deprivation data, levels of physical activity and levels of ethnic diversity.

Our focus areas in the UK are East London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds/Bradford and Glasgow.

We are currently refining our shortlist in the US and will publish our focus areas once they are decided.

Pillar 1: Schools

Research shows that many girls, especially the least active, don’t feel confident taking part in physical activity at school. For many girls this is their only chance to get active.

Our story so far

In the UK we are partnering with the Youth Sport Trust, the UK’s leading charity for improving the education and development of every child through sport and play. Working together with young women, we will co-design a fun co-curricular programme, in which girls can try new activities like dance, boxing, fitness and yoga, and discover the ways they love to get active.

We will be designing the programme with girls in 12 schools in East London, Leeds and Glasgow over the autumn and winter of 2021 and will evaluate the pilot in spring 2022. 

In the US, we are partnering with GLSEN to support K-12 schools and make sports and physical activity more inclusive and welcoming for LGBTQ+ young people. We are supporting the relaunch of GLSEN’s Changing the Game programme in September 2021 with new resources and training for staff and pupils, with a particular focus on supporting trans and non-binary pupils.

Pillar 2: Community

We know that activities run in local communities, by people from those communities, are great ways to empower people to get more active.

Our story so far

In the UK, we are partnering with Sporting Equals – a charity dedicated to promoting ethnic diversity across sport and physical activity – to run a pilot activity programme in Manchester. Sporting Equals will support 10 small grassroots faith, cultural and community organisations to develop new physical activities with teenage girls over the summer and autumn of 2021. Together we will evaluate the pilot over the winter and use what we learn to inform our next steps.

In the US, we are currently talking to NGOs and community organisations in our geographic focus areas to find a partner who shares our mission, who we can work with in this space.

Pillar 3: Digital

Girls spend a huge amount of time online, but for many it’s not a safe, welcoming space that helps them feel more confident about their bodies and being active.

Our story so far

Working with Comic Relief, we co-funded a research report by Women in Sport (the UK’s top research and insight charity helping women and girls to get active) into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on teenage girls’ activity levels and, specifically, their engagement with digital support.

We are using these findings, together with a piece of insight and research with teenage girls, to plan development of a digital platform which will support girls and help them to feel confident about getting active

How you can help

Support our mission with a donation.