Starling Bank, the national banking sponsor of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, will donate £28,000 to emerging players and grassroots football clubs to help develop the pipeline of female footballing talent.
Twenty-three grants of £1,000 each will be donated to clubs based in the tournament’s nine host cities and venues across the UK, including Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and Brighton. The bank has also partnered with SportsAid to identify five up-and-coming players that have each received a £1,000 grant to support their training and development.
Jill Scott MBE, Lioness, SportsAid alumni and ambassador for Starling Bank said: “The Lionesses brought it home. It was a message to girls everywhere that they deserve to be on that pitch and they shouldn’t have to fight for the right to. Now, they need equal training opportunities and dedicated resources, which grants from SportsAid and sponsors like Starling Bank support, so that when they rise through the ranks of football in years to come, the playing field is truly level.”
Lorraine Warwick-Ellis, Girls Development Officer of Astley and Tyldesley FC said: “Grassroots clubs are where footballing talent really prospers. Ella Toone, forward for the Lionesses, first trained at Astley and Tyldesley FC and we’ve had lots of sign ups from girls that want to follow in her footsteps. This grant from Starling Bank will help us meet that demand by hiring another dedicated coach and buying new kits. It means we can take our tenth girls’ team to the leagues and ensure that our club continues its tradition of creating world class female footballers.”
The donation follows Starling’s ‘Our Time’ campaign, which highlights the glass ceilings that have been smashed for women in sport, technology and banking. As part of this campaign, the bank, the first in the UK to be founded by a woman, launched the first ever fantasy football game for the UEFA Women’s EURO in the UK.
Starling also partnered with three ambassadors that represent the past, present and future of women’s football. These include Rachel Yankey OBE, Arsenal Women legend turned TV presenter; Jill Scott MBE, entrepreneur and Lioness; and Lauren Hemp, forward for the Lionesses and Manchester City - all of whom received SportsAid support at the start of their careers.
Helen Bierton, Chief Banking Officer at Starling Bank and former Olympic athlete adds: “We sponsored the UEFA Women’s EURO because we want to lift women up wherever we can, especially in male dominated spaces like football and banking. The tournament might be over, but this is not the time to drop the ball - it’s time to focus on how much further football can go. We hope our donation plays a part in that.”