Suffolk is set to be one of the first counties in the UK to offer This Girl Can Classes, after several instructors across the county qualified earlier this month.

This Girl Can Classes, operated by EMD UK, the national governing body for group exercise and funded by Sport England and The National Lottery, are specifically designed to create a behaviour change for less active women or those returning to exercise after a break. These local classes will be a stepping stone into regular classes and will build fitness, confidence, and ability.

After a successful pilot in other parts of the country, Active Suffolk the Active Partnership for the county partnered with EMD UK to offer local instructors the chance to train and qualify to deliver these classes across Suffolk.

The classes have been designed based on the insight and learning gained through the success of the nationally recognised This Girl Can campaign delivered by Sport England. The campaign which launched in 2015 has supported nearly 4 million women across the UK to take action and fulfil a more active lifestyle regardless of their size, background, age or ability. This has been achieved through a number of successful TV adverts and social media and marketing campaigns, however the launch of the This Girl Can Classes is a new initiative born out of the pandemic.

Insight from Sport England highlighted a drop off in physical activity levels during the pandemic, however research also highlighted that the restrictions brought in during this time had a significant impact on the number of women engaging in physical activity and sport, widening the gap between males and females with regards to activity levels.

Sarah Partington, the Master Trainer from EMD UK said:

“In September we embarked on a new This Girl Can Classes course in Suffolk with the plan to release the exciting new fitness concept to females across the county, including members of Abbeycroft Leisure.
The instructors on the day were full of energy and had a real passion for supporting women to find group exercise that would suit their needs.

This Girl Can Classes are designed to introduce inactive women to a range of exercise styles including box fitness, dance fitness, toning classes, HIIT style workouts and Yoga style stretching.
They are accessible for everyone, so beginners are welcomed and given the space to find their very own love of fitness!”

Instructors across the county, including several from the Abbeycroft Leisure Trust qualified as This Girl Can Classes instructors at the beginning of September, with thanks to funding and support from EMD UK and Active Suffolk.
The instructors have qualified enabling them to deliver a variety of exercise styles which are designed to support women returning to exercise and those that may have never stepped foot into a group exercise class or leisure centre. As well as supporting women to move their bodies, the classes will support women to gain confidence, make friends and try something new without the fear of getting it wrong!

This Girl Can Classes in Suffolk will launch later in the year from a number of the Abbeycroft Leisure sites in the West of the county, plus community venues in other locations across Suffolk.

Kristy Foulger, Group Exercise Manager at Abbeycroft Leisure said:

“This will be an exciting addition to our fitness class programme which runs across our portfolio.

We have some exceptional fitness class instructors who are passionate about helping people to become active and they can’t wait for these classes to launch.
As a not-for-profit social enterprise we see first-hand the difference being active can make to someone’s health and wellbeing and we consider ourselves fortunate to play a part in that.”

Details regarding the classes will be announced via Active Suffolk and the This Girl Can Suffolk channels later in the year.

For more information about the This Girl Can campaign in Suffolk visit