A fitness festival encouraging women and girls in Rayleigh to take part in more physical activity has been hailed a success.

The ‘Women Like Us Festival’, which took place at Rayleigh Leisure Centre, saw ladies of all ages try out new sports and activities, including badminton, squash and spin class.

The taster sessions encouraged women to try something new and take their first steps to becoming more active in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Some of the most popular sessions at the festival included the FABS Class, led by fitness coach Nicola from Move it or Lose it and the Come and Try Bowls session, led by Rayleigh Bowls Club.

Festival goer Rachel Smith, from Rayleigh, said: “I didn’t think I could do anything fitness related, but after trying out the Pilates session I realised that I can do anything I put my mind to. The whole event had a lovely non-intimidating atmosphere which made me relax and enjoy the day.”

There are now over 270 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 and is part of their ambition to change 1 million lives by getting Essex active.

Dawn Emberson, Active Essex Relationship Manager for South Essex, said: “It was great to see so many ladies participate in so many different activities at the festival. The latest This Girl Can campaign, ‘Fit Got Real’, reflects how difficult it can be to fit in physical activity in your busy day. The taster sessions at the festival highlighted the many activities that are taking place in the local community and just how much you can get out of a short exercise session!”

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