Park Rangers is a thriving football club based in County Waterford. It has over 400 members and 77 voluntary coaches supporting 31 teams – all of which is an outstanding achievement in a rural location. But what makes Park Rangers really special, is what makes any organisation special – how it takes care of its own.
With female membership running at 32%, considerably above the national norm, Park Rangers realised it was not offering its female members equity in the football club. Equity involves addressing the requirement of certain groups, such as the 100+ female members, who up until this point may have felt like visitors at a man’s club.
The club’s Female Focus Campaign sought to address this immediately. Using Good Causes funding they were able to supply adequate toilets for female participation, such a basic yet vital utility that male football players take for granted. In addition to these facilities, the Female Focus Campaign addressed perhaps the key barrier to female participation in sport – the Menstrual Cycle.
As a result, Park Rangers is the first amateur club in Ireland to provide ongoing training workshops to members and coaches on the menstrual cycle and to provide free sanitary products in toilets and first aid kits. Another outcome was changing the team shorts from white to red and allowing the female teams design their own jersey. Real equity.
Park Rangers efforts have been so effective and inspiring, that both the FAI and Sport Ireland have decided to dissimilate the findings Nationwide. The impact of Park Rangers initiatives could have a seismic positive impact on female participation in sport on a national level. To say they’ve played a blinder is an outrageous understatement. In fact, we would argue that what Park Rangers have done is far more important than any league or cup they’ll ever compete for, and here at the National Lottery Good Causes we are only delighted to give them the standing ovation they deserve.