Table Tennis victory

Women and girls enjoyed a fitness-filled day at the first-ever Women Like Us Festival in Basildon which has been hailed as a success by organisers Active Essex.

From BODYPUMP and Zumba to walking hockey and walking netball, the free festival offered taster sessions for a range of activities and sports with the aim of encouraging women and girls to try out something new or take their first steps to becoming more active in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

The festival, which took place at Basildon Sporting Village on Sunday, was organised by Active Basildon and Active Brentwood to showcase the variety of fantastic sports available in the local community. The event featured activity sessions run by a range of local organisations, including Boccia by Sport for Confidence, Body Combat by This Girl Can Essex Ambassador Essex Fit Mums. There was also a wellness area organised by Motivated Minds.

Meghan Bailey, of Canvey Island, said the event has transformed her perception of getting fit and active. She said: “The Women Like Us Festival has definitely opened my eyes because you think of a gym as being a load of people that are really fit and sort of judging each other, but it’s not at all – it’s loads of people in the same boat as you just trying to gain fitness.

“Taking part in the event has made me feel a bit more comfortable. It’s really, really inclusive which is great and that’s what made me want to come along because I feel like I’m not the most active person in the universe and it’s nice to be among friends.”

There are now over 170 This Girl Can Essex ambassadors across the county who inspire women in their local community to get active, meet new people and have fun. The ambassador programme is run by Active Essex, the county sport partnership, and is part of their ambition to change 1 million lives by getting Essex active.

Lee Monk, Active Essex Assistant Relationship Manager for South Essex, said: “It was great to see so many women participate at the festival and there was a real vibe and sense of community about the event. The latest This Girl Can campaign reflects how hard it can be to fit in physical activity in your busy day. The taster sessions highlighted how you can get a lot out of a short time and keep it real.”

For more information about Active Essex and the This Girl Can Campaign, visit www.activeessex.org