Part of FA project to increase awareness during 2022 Euros
Fodens Ladies FC established itself as a pioneers of the women’s game in the sixties
Gunnersbury Park has been chosen to host a major exhibition on the history of women’s football as part of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Heritage Programme.
A £500,000 grant has been received from National Lottery to share 141 years of women’s football in displays which will coincide with the tournament of which London is one of the host cities.
The exhibition at the museum in the park will share the stories of the women and girls who pioneered the sport. The project will collect objects and stories relating to women’s and girls’ football across Hounslow and Ealing.
It will be accompanied by a programme of events for all such as creative workshops for children and an outdoor film screening.
For the very first time, information about every England player, captain, goal scorer and match score since 1972 will be researched, recorded and shared alongside the information that already exists about men’s football. Hosted on England Football’s website the record will continue to be updated, ensuring future female players are part of the nation’s footballing story. The project will particularly explore the role of the LGBTQ+ community.
It’s an important year for women’s football, as England hosts the UEFA Women’s EURO and the Lionesses mark their 50th anniversary. However, the history of the game goes back a lot further than many might think. This year also marks 141 years since women’s football was first played professionally.
The project aims to challenge the common perception of women’s football being ‘new’ and change the nation’s understanding of ‘the English game’. In addition to the National Lottery funding, The FA and host cities have contributed nearly £600,000 to the project, making a total of £1,060,580.
Hounslow and Ealing have a history of women’s and girls’ football activity from Brentford Football Club to grassroots football teams, not to mention the birthplace of Bend It Like Beckham!
Eilish McGuinness, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said, “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the hidden history and unheard voices of women’s football will be shared for the first time, capturing the full story of the beloved sport. We’re delighted to support this project which will give fans and players the chance to celebrate the history of women’s football and communities to discover their connections to the game.”
Hounslow Council Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, Councillor Samia Chaudhary, said, “This is exciting news and we’re really pleased to welcome the exhibition to our borough. Celebrating the history of women’s football has never been more important and relevant, and I hope it will inspire many more women and girls to get involved, and remind them that women have always been an important part of the beautiful game. Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund there will be yet another reason to visit and enjoy our brilliant Gunnersbury Park. We want these events to be inclusive and available to all diverse backgrounds and faith groups. We hope to encourage a greater participation in football and the many fitness benefits it brings, and develop our archives for the future.”
Baroness Sue Campbell, UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Board Member and Director of Women’s Football, The FA, said, “We are thrilled to be working with our UEFA Women’s EURO Host City partners and The National Lottery Heritage Fund on this unique project. Together we will bring to the fore incredible stories of the pioneers of women’s football who have helped shape the women’s game we have today. The programme will also capture and tell, for generations to come, the profiles and stories of current and future England players, ensuring fans are better informed than ever before.”
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