Women and girls are getting the chance to become qualified football referees at a discounted rate, thanks to Collingwood.
The national insurance intermediary, which is headquartered in North Shields, is supporting the Northumberland FA by enabling it to offer refereeing courses for just £23, reduced from £100 for the region’s women and girls.
The initiative aims to build on the recent successes of the Lionesses and provide an opportunity for more females to get involved in the game.
The now fully-booked courses will take place on Sunday, November 19.
Jonathan Brougham, Head of Marketing at Collingwood, said: “We’re delighted to be able to provide women and girls in the North East with the opportunity to take part in an FA referee course at a fraction of the normal cost.
“The brilliant performances from the Lionesses in recent years have inspired so many people – including women and girls - to see football as something that is for them.
“However, there is still some way to go to ensure there is equal opportunities for both boys and girls and that’s why we believe initiatives like this are so important. For young girls, it is important they have role models – if they see it, they can be it – so bringing more women into the game, both as players and as officials, is key.”
With the Lionesses winning Euro 2022 and finishing as runners-up at the World Cup this summer, the women’s game has seen increased support, attendance at matches, participation and influence.
Sport England says 100,000 more girls are playing football now than in 2017. However, there are many ways females can participate in football beyond playing, such as coaching and refereeing.
And the need for more qualified referees is an issue in both the men’s and women’s games. UEFA – the governing body of football in Europe – believes that across its 55 member associations, they are about 40,000 referees short of what is needed.
“We are thrilled to be working with Collingwood on this fantastic initiative which will see over a dozen women and girls secure their refereeing badges,” said Helen Beales, Deputy CEO of the Northumberland FA.
“The achievements of North East players such as Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead and Jill Scott has led to more girls and women than ever before getting involved in the sport over recent years however we know we must do more to get women involved in all levels of the game.
“That is why partnerships such as these - which break down the barriers for women entering the sport - are so important.
“While it’s fantastic to see more women playing, we also need more coaches, managers, chairs and referees and this will be key in helping us achieve just that.
“We can’t thank Collingwood enough for their continued support and are looking forward to seeing the first cohort hit pitches across the county over the coming months and years.”
Collingwood is a leading player in the learner driver, taxi and courier insurance markets, with a reputation for providing tailored insurance solutions to meet the diverse needs of its customers. With a base in North Shields, the company is keen to give something back to the local community, forming a partnership that allows it to make a difference in the North East. Earlier this year, the company signed up to Northumberland FA’s ‘Referee Pathway’ campaign as a Platinum Partner.
The ‘Referee Pathway’ aims to help break down the barriers for those from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities and economically deprived areas that do not traditionally engage with the game and make it easier for them to secure their refereeing qualifications.
To learn more about Collingwood Insurance, visit: www.collingwood.co.uk.