In 2021, Sweaty Betty Foundation (a registered charity) was launched by the renowned sportswear brand with the vision of empowering women of all ages and backgrounds to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle. 

Globally, according to the World Health Organisation, only 15% of teenage girls are doing enough physical activity. The changes to girls’ bodies, and their confidence, caused by puberty is one of the biggest reasons that girls aren’t as active as they should be. Not exercising regularly can lead to a whole host of challenges throughout life and, shockingly, recent data suggests that young girls in England are amongst some of the least physically active in the world

The Sweaty Betty team recognised the importance of understanding the insights, perspectives and lived experiences of young women to be able to have a real impact here. The team reached out to Participation People to help with how they could use youth voice to shape the programmes and strategies of the Foundation.

‘The Girls Panel’ – Setting up for success

A key factor in the success of the charity is to ensure its activities resonate with the target audience. To deliver this, we helped the charity establish the Girls Panel – a platform involving young people and trustees in a collaborative process to inform decision-making. Our key aim here was to ensure the foundation’s initiatives really sparked engagement with young people, supporting Sweaty Betty Foundation’s mission of empowering young women to stay active for life.

Beyond the panel – Training and Consultancy

Beyond this, our approach to Sweaty Betty Foundation saw us follow a three-step process to maximise the outcomes that could be gained from the Girls Panel project. 

– Step one: professional youth voice training. Our Programme Manager created a tailored training workshop for key decision-makers at Sweaty Betty Foundation, guiding them on how to create open, safe and inclusive spaces for young people. The training focused on facilitating effective communication, exploring interactive approaches, and refining session plans to engage young people.

– Step two: facilitation consultancy. The next step was to support the Foundation’s key decision-makers by putting the training workshop outcomes into youth-proof governance and quality assurance language, designed to help them get ready to facilitate workshops for young people, Girls Panel and members of their board of trustees. These workshops involved co-creating a Youth-Proof Charter, and so as always, we called upon Lundy’s model of child participation, introducing new approaches that would help young people involved express their voices effectively on any important topic. 

– Step three: training delivery. We facilitated a comprehensive training session, bringing together the Girls Panel, trustees, and a wider group of professional stakeholders. The training aimed to define the benefits of developing the programme, co-produce a working strategy and action plan for the Girls Panel that worked for everyone, and enhance communication, teamwork, and confidence skills among the delegates.

Outcomes and impact

It takes consistent work to truly embed youth voices into organisational frameworks in a meaningful way, but our executive coaching and consultancy provided significant outcomes  through Sweaty Betty Foundation’s Girls Panel, including:

– Embedding vision and values from the get-go: The Girls Panel were able to actively contribute to how  Sweaty Betty Foundation’s vision, mission, and values were defined, ensuring their perspectives and aspirations were built in from the start. 

– Increased accountability: The Girls Panel added their ideas, insights, and lived experiences to various foundation development areas. They actively held Sweaty Betty Foundation accountable for incorporating youth voices into decision-making processes, strengthening the Foundation’s direction.

– Powerful partnerships: Through youth voice training and consultancy, the Girls Panel and trustees were empowered to work as equal partners, fostering collaboration and mutual respect. Their involvement in recruitment processes and shaping the foundation’s initiatives allowed for a seamless transition and sustained commitment to youth voice, which will stand strong over time.


As youth voice experts, consultancy and coaching are some of the things we do best, and working with Sweaty Betty Foundation on their mission to empower more young people to get active was more than rewarding. The Girls Panel got to play a vital role in involving young people in a collaborative process, equipping professionals and trustees with new and necessary skills. 

Plus, the foundation showed real leadership in youth-focused initiatives in a way that will help young people amplify their voices and most importantly, help young women who face the biggest barriers to being active find physical activity that works for them.


“Working with Participation People has been a game-changer for Sweaty Betty Foundation and our Girls Panel. Their executive coaching and consultancy empowered our team to listen to and value the voices of young people, resulting in transformative outcomes. Through their training, we gained invaluable skills and insights, enabling us to make more informed decisions and create programmes that truly resonate with our target audience. “

“The Girls Panel’s contributions have not only strengthened our vision and values but also fostered a culture of accountability and collaboration. Participation People’s expertise and support have been instrumental in empowering youth and amplifying their agency within our organisation. We are grateful for their partnership in our mission to empower young people.” 

  • Nicola Marshall, Director of Sweaty Betty Foundation