The Empower Girls Squash Foundation is being set up to give disadvantaged women and girls the opportunity to play squash for the first time. Squash is among the healthiest sports to play, a very social game great for meeting new people, mental health and all-round wellbeing. The Empower Girls Squash Foundation hopes to use squash and its associated benefits to increase the numbers of women and girls playing squash and improve quality of life, particularly for those lacking access or opportunity for such benefits to health.
To celebrate the launch of the Foundation and fundraise for its activities, a 3-day event was organised to showcase some of the women’s worlds greatest players to the local community of Birmingham and beyond. The event was a great success, giving many women and girls of all ages the opportunity to play alongside the world’s greatest, including Nicol David, Raneem El Welily, Sarah-Jane Perry and Tesni Evans. Following the play-a-pro experience each day, was a Q & A and 2 exhibition matches between the players. Naturally the standard was world class, spectators enjoying the sport at its best and creating a great aspirational spectacle for women and girls alike to get involved.
PSA Foundation Manager Adriana Olaya on the partnership with Empower:
“This is a Pilot program for the PSA Foundation because it fits right in the core of or our objectives to engage more girls in playing Squash. It’s also a way in which our players can work together with their clubs and their local community to have a broader impact in their community and genuinely give back to the sport.”
“We are so proud to back Deon and support this project, and hope to inspire others to do something similar in their respective communities”
Empower Girls Squash Foundation founder Deon Saffery on the creation of her foundation:
“Last year I was given a grant to go into schools and introduce kids to squash. Most of the children I worked with had never heard or seen squash before and the smiles on their faces when they were playing on our pop-up walls was a joy to see. The problem was we were giving kids a taster of squash with no real avenue from them to play squash after. They couldn’t afford the club fees let alone get to the club to play. That’s when I decided I wanted to set up a foundation to support underprivileged kids with the opportunity to better their lives through free squash, education and nutrition. The more I thought and researched it the more I learnt that girls really weren’t being active enough and I wanted to show girls how exercise, especially squash, as it’s my love, can make you a happier and healthier person.”
“PSA Foundation have a been a huge support in helping me figure out the best way to take a project like this forward. Although I am passionate and driven It myself, it is all new to me and every bit of help I can get is great.”
“Squash unfortunately isn’t as easy as going to a local field and playing.”
“We need to work as a team to show off this amazing game, it’s fun, energetic and a great distraction from other possible negative experiences for young children. By making this project free and full of positive outcomes and experiences then maybe week by week will get more players.”
The event was a great success, raising significant funds towards the Empower Girls Squash Foundation’s future work, which will mean more lives changed for the better, more healthy, happy women and girls, and more reaping the benefits of our fantastic sport.