Sussex plays its part in This Girl Can initiative

This Girl Can Week - which starts today - is set to inspire women across Sussex to return to activity after lockdown.

Saturday, 12th June 2021, 8:45 am
This Girl Can Week is encouraging women to get active after lockdown

After a year of disruption and women’s activity levels decreasing, the This Girl Can campaign is encouraging all women to take time out to get active with a dedicated ‘This Girl Can Week’ from 12-19 June.

The week comes following Sport England’s research which shows that women have particularly struggled to maintain their activity habits during the coronavirus pandemic. Further data shows that women are less likely to return to activity than men, with the most prevalent barriers including not feeling fit enough, childcare responsibilities and worries about Covid-19.

With the message of ‘it’s time to choose you’ in mind, the week is about putting the spotlight on women and exercise, celebrating how getting active can make women feel happier, stronger, and free. Whether they choose to do a brisk walk, a slow run, a trip to the pool or dance round the living room with friends – it all counts.

Could you try a new activity in This Girl Can Week?

Led by Active Sussex, the This Girl Can Sussex Network will be supporting the week, encouraging women across Sussex to ‘choose you’ and get active in a way that works for them for the benefit of their wellbeing.

The This Girl Can Sussex Network was launched in December 2020, initially with two Sussex Ambassadors, Tess Agnew and Zoe Ward. The network now comprises a further eighteen champions and several more promoters, helping to amplify the This Girl Can message across different areas and communities in the county, to help break down barriers and encourage more women and girls to get moving.

This Girl Can will be sharing stories on social media, suggesting activities, and stimulating discussions throughout the week, helping to support women to get involved in physical activity at their own pace, regardless of fitness levels or ability.

Kate Dale, This Girl Can Campaign Lead, said: “We know that the last year has been especially difficult for women when it comes to doing something for themselves, particularly when it comes to getting physically active.

Loretta Lock

“The work we do through This Girl Can aims to frame exercise in a way that highlights each and every benefit we can all get from moving more, like feeling healthier, better mental and emotional health, flexibility, building strength and – most importantly – having fun.

Through our first-ever This Girl Can Week, we want to help inspire and encourage women to become more active while showcasing the many fantastic ways they can do so. No matter your shape, size or ability, now is the time to choose you and celebrate moving your body in whatever way makes you feel good.”

Sadie Mason MBE, CEO at Active Sussex said: “At Active Sussex our mission is to help those groups and communities of people most at risk of inactivity to get active in ways that work for them, so we are very proud to be supporters of the This Girl Can campaign. The This Girl Can Week is a fantastic way to come together and mobilise our new network to encourage more women and girls across Sussex to ‘choose you’ and find ways of moving that they enjoy.”

This Girl Can Sussex Champion, Loretta Lock discovered how exercise could not only help her during the pandemic, but could help her journey through peri-menopause:

An East Sussex-based mum and owner of Defiant Sports, Loretta became a coach in 2005 to enable her children and their home-educated friends to have PE lessons. Her son Callum has some disabilities and so she began Defiant Sports too help provide access to physical activity for anyone with a barrier to participation.

Despite being a coach, Loretta rarely found time to exercise for herself. She discovered Couch to 5k in the first Covid-19 lockdown and finally found something that gave her some much-needed headspace and time to enjoy participating in activity instead of coaching it.

It wasn’t just time, money and confidence that presented barriers to Loretta getting active. She was in the perimenopause and beginning to experience night sweats, hot flushes and resistant weight gain.

Loretta said: “Regardless of these barriers, I completed the programme. Did I do each run on schedule? No! Did I run 5k in 30 minutes? No! Did I complete every run first time? No! Did I complete the programme, in my time, on my terms? Yes! And I felt like an absolute superstar. This has now developed in me, a love for jogging.”

Now, entering menopause, Loretta is continuing this new-found love and training in a way that works for her.

For more information about This Girl Can Week and inspiration for ways to get active in Sussex, visit