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Pioneering project in Islington helps women to train as lifeguards

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A pioneering Islington sports project has helped train 15 women to become qualified lifeguards.

This Girl Can Islington was set up to increase physical activity amongst women and girls aged 14 and over. The project offers a range of sports and physical activity sessions in addition to training and qualifications.

Islington is the first borough to have trained female lifeguards through This Girl Can. The lifeguarding qualification takes women through a week-long training course, which includes learning First Aid, how to use early intervention and how to save a person in distress.

Dajana Kastrati joined the This Girl Can Islington lifeguarding course at age 16. After passing the course, Dajana had an interview to join the BETTER lifeguard team in Islington and was recruited to Cally Pool and Highbury as a Lifeguard.

Dajana said: “The course was very interesting and I really enjoyed it. It was women-only, so I felt that I was more comfortable especially during the poolside training, and I gained confidence and met new friends.

“I hope in the future there are more females being trained as lifeguards as it is a brilliant qualification to have.”

Cllr Janet Burgess, executive member for health and social care, said: “This Girl Can Islington is a fantastic initiative, not only getting more women and girls involved in sport, but offering training and qualifications that will help women to secure jobs. 

“I would like to encourage all female residents to make the most of the activities and training opportunities on offer in the borough.”

Sport England has awarded £236,000 National Lottery funding to This Girl Can Islington, which has funded a range of activities. Alongside the lifeguard training, This Girl Can Islington offers sessions including women-only exercise classes, swimming, gym, tennis and basketball.

Chris Perks, Sport England’s Executive Director Local Delivery, said: “We are delighted that the National Lottery funding we were able to award to This Girl Can Islington has made such a difference, both to the newly-trained female lifeguards and to the community they are serving. Thanks to the skills they have learned, the lifeguards can play an essential role in enabling more local residents to enjoy the benefits of being active.”

All sessions are £2 and residents are invited to turn up and have fun. Beginner level activities are available in female friendly environments. For more information see

Islington Council worked with GLL and other partners to put together a bid for Sport England funding.


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