A NEWLY LAUNCHED women’s football team is going from strength to strength in Chester.

Tarvin AFC Women’s Football Squad was launched in November 2023 following an appeal for women of all ages and abilities to sign up to weekly sessions.

The aim of the group was to create a positive team environment focusing on fun and fitness for women who had never really had the opportunity to play football before.

Now, just six months on, three experienced Tarvin AFC coaches lead the squad of 22, who train weekly. 

Karen Elliott, Women’s Football Development Officer for Tarvin AFC said: “The opportunity to play football is something most women have simply never had, and the response has been incredible. We are delighted with how popular the training sessions have been and how much the players have developed thanks to the fantastic coaching they receive.”

The squad have also been fortunate to secure significant generous sponsorship from three local businesses - The Cornichon, Lee Contracting Ltd and Aspiring Lives Ltd - which has meant that all members of the squad have received free training tops or hoodies as well as training t-shirts. This has helped the women feel comfortable and confident when training, and truly part of a team.

Gareth Jones, Managing Director of Aspiring Lives Ltd, a local care company based in Chester said he was “delighted to sponsor the squad and be associated with such a positive community initiative.”

Rhiannon Totty-Lee of Lee Contracting said: “We want to thank Tarvin Womens Football Squad for welcoming us onto they arm of their shirts. We believe that investing in our local sports teams is a great way to give back to the community we care so much about. Furthermore, on a personal level, the banter, competition and respect shown in training sessions is one of the highlights of my week.

Chester and District Standard:

Limited facilities

Tarvin AFC Women are looking forward to arranging some friendly matches in the coming months and are hoping to grow the squad further, however the club is facing the challenge of limited grassroots facilities.

Karen explains: Sadly, there is only one third of a 3g pitch available for us to hire for training across Chester and Cheshire West on a Wednesday evening during the winter which has meant we have had to cap our numbers at 22.  

“It is incredibly frustrating to have a growing waiting list and not be able to let more women join, however, we are very much hoping to secure a larger training facility in the Autumn.”

Tarvin AFC say the lack of 3g pitches is a huge problem for many grassroots clubs, and this is exacerbated in more rural areas.

Tarvin AFC has over 400 members from age 5 upwards and rely entirely on volunteers to help maintain their grass pitches something which has been incredibly challenging this winter and there is a clear need for more artificial pitches to meet demand.

Councillor Adam Langan, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:

“We have been talking with Tarvin AFC, Cheshire FA and the Parish Council to look at opportunities to support the increase in participation in this area.

“The boroughs current Playing Pitch Strategy assesses needs and demand and does not currently identify a need for any new 3G pitches in this area. The Strategy does however identify a need for grass pitch improvements.

“We will be completing an assessment report for the King George V playing field in Tarvin and the nearby pitch at Duddon to see what measures can be taken during the summer to improve their quality and reduce occasions when matches have to be relocated or cancelled due to pitch condition.

“The Playing Pitch Strategy is reviewed annually and any major changes to the numbers of clubs, team changes etc are included in future assessment reviews. We will continue to support grass roots investment and local pitch improvements in the area.”

Tarvin AFC also have a thriving girls section also and any girls interested in coming to training seasons should contact girlsfootball@tarvinafc.co.uk

Anyone who would like more information on the Tarvin AFC Women’s Squad or to be added to the waiting list should contact Karen at womensfootball@tarvinafc.co.uk