Keep up-to-date with the latest football activities in the West region on twitter @sfa_west

Mearns Primary School became the latest school to take part in the pilot girls-only Tesco Bank Football Challenge programme, in partnership with the Scottish FA.

Scotland women’s captain, and Celtic goalkeeper, Gemma Fay, was at the East Renfrewshire School to see primary three pupils taking part in the programme. The girls will enjoy three months of coaching, and come together for a festival at the end of the challenge.

The programme uses fun football opportunities to encourage girls to see physical activity as a positive part of their lifestyle from a young age. Only 48% of girls aged 13-15 in Scotland met official guidelines in 2011 for physical activity (60 minutes per day), compared to 69% of boys at the same age.*

The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is a four-year community programme run in partnership with the Scottish FA. The project introduces football to primary two and three children (six to eight- years -old) across Scotland to help engage them in a healthy and active lifestyle.

More than 50,000 children have now benefited from the Scottish FA’s flagship participation programme, which was recognised by UEFA, winning a silver grassroots award last season.

Gemma Fay, Scotland women’s captain, and Celtic goalkeeper, said: “Women's football is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and it's so important that opportunities are created for young girls to take part in the game.

“At this age group, it's all about having fun, and you can see that is the focus of this programme. Hopefully the girls taking part today will continue to enjoy the game and keep playing for years to come.”

Adele Mills, Community Investment Manager at Tesco Bank added: “The Tesco Bank Football Challenge continues to be a huge success and now the programme is established we are keen for it to develop and evolve. The introduction of a pilot girls’ scheme is a great way to do this and will hopefully result in findings that can improve levels of participation in sport amongst girls.”

*Scottish Health Survey 2011