A SPECIALIST sports college has received funding to encourage schools across Castle Point and Rochford to get more girls into football.

The Deanes School in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, has been awarded around £2,000 from the Essex and Southend Sports Trust to launch a series of projects aimed at getting more schoolgirls in both boroughs to take up the sport.

Sixteen primary schools have already taken part in taster sessions in football coaching to find out more about the scheme which could target around 500 girls in the area.

Plans are already in the pipeline to start up a holiday coaching camp, competitions and the first Castle Point and Rochford district girls sports team for year seven and eight pupils.

Steve Bish, partnership development manager at the school, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news. In a time when the country is experiencing all these public sector cuts it makes it really difficult for us to get funding for projects like this.

“It’s so important for us to do our upmost to get girls into sports. The Olympic team did so well this year, and we want to build on that success and hopefully we could pave the way for future athletes. So far the response has been extremely positive.”

The school is set to undergo a major transformation in the next few years, as Essex County Council has earmarked £23million to merge the Deanes School and Glenwood School in a modern new building which is expected to include new sports facilities.

It has already seen the creation of a new £1.5million 43-place purpose-built nursery called Enchanted Wood.