A rapidly-expanding initiative with aims to tackle sexism and champion women in sport has secured the support in Hartlepool from local charity the PFC Trust.
Her Game Too is growing across the country with more and more professional clubs joining in.
Jill Simmonds is now the Her Game Too ambassador for Hartlepool United and is working closely with the club’s Youth Alliance, which consists of the six grassroots football clubs across the town.
Now the PFC Trust, through its Hartlepool Sport arm of the charity, is looking to help the national drive gather momentum in this area after signing a joint organisations partnership between the two.
Her Game Too advertising boards will now appear in different areas of Hartlepool with the help from the charity set up by Euro Millions’ winners Frances and Patrick Connolly in 2019 to help the people and communities in this area.
Jill, who is also part of the Youth Alliance committee working with Marty Hewitt and the Hart of Our Club 1908 supporters' group, said: “We will mutually support each other to support the Her Game Too message.
"The PFC Trust, a fantastic charity, and Hartlepool Sport will work with us at events. We are also looking to work together with Schools’ Sport because Her Game Too is looking to highlight its message in the education sector nationally. Having allies on board like the PFC Trust is huge for us. We are teaching boys that it’s fine for girls to do it too.”
Her Game Too is represented at many clubs across the country by women in similar voluntary roles to Jill. TV pundit and presenter Alex Scott is one of many backing the programme set up by Caz May, Bristol Rovers ambassador, in 2021.
Carl Jorgeson, the CEO of Hartlepool Sport, said: "Her Game Too is such an important campaign to support, and is coming at such a great time for women and girls sport.
"Football, and sport more broadly, is for everyone. We were all inspired by the Lionesses last summer and locally we have some amazing girls looking to join their ranks. For example Aria Wallace stands out as a future superstar, who has already scored over 200 goals for FC Hartlepool and was recognised at the recent Hartlepool Sports Council Annual Awards.
"We are really pleased to support Her Game Too and we encourage clubs from across all sports to look at getting involved."
There is already a Her Game Too banner at Hartlepool United’s Suit Direct Stadium and when Northampton head to Pools on Saturday, March 11, there will be a dedicated match to highlight the message.
Jill said: “We have had some productive talks with Hartlepool United’s head of commercial and operations Rose Stoker. She was particularly interested as a woman in a high-profile position at a men’s club.
“The dedicated match will champion all things women related and coincide with International Women’s Day (March 8). We plan to have Hartlepool United Women’s first team there doing a lap of honour before the game.
“There will be female ball girls, flag bearers, female mascots and we are looking at having the Youth Alliance girls’ teams doing a parade at half-time. We also have plenty more in the pipeline.”
Jill was announced as a Her Game Too ambassador in March and, as a huge Pools fan who travels home and away, she has revealed why she was so keen to get involved.
She said: “Women should be involved in sport and football. They should be able to feel safe to chat to friends about football without being ridiculed. They should be taken seriously.
“This isn’t just about playing the game. Women should be able to attend matches and it should inspire girls to play and get more bums on seats at the Suit Direct Stadium. It is important to encourage this message and I am sure it will only grow.”
*To learn more about the PFC Trust or Her Game Too check out
Her Game Too's Hartlepool United ambassador Jill Simmonds with PFC Trust founder Frances Connolly at the Suit Direct Stadium. Picture: PFC Trust.
Hartlepool United Women's team with the #HerGameToo logo. Picture: Her Game Too