14 Oct MissKick Scoring Business Goals
Local girl Grace Vella is turning her passion for football into a business to engage girls in football from the grassroots up.
Grace says ‘I’ve been mad about football from an early age. I have a brother and lots of male cousins and grew up playing footy with them on Blaguegate pitches near where I live. I joined a team when I was 8 and have had the amazing experience of playing for Liverpool, Manchester City, Chorley and Lancashire.
Football played such a big part in my childhood; it really shaped me as a person and I want other girls to have that too’.
Skelmersdale is known nationally for hosting a major women’s tournament each year which attracts teams from all over the UK, but there is a surprising lack of girls’ football locally. Despite the England women’s team getting into the World Cup this year, growth in girls’ football tends to be concentrated in the larger cities.
Grace says: I had always wanted to do slogan t-shirts for girls to spread the message about girls playing football, so when I first saw the School for Social Entrepreneurs course being organised by Well Skelmersdale, I applied to join to see how I could develop my ideas into a business. Being on the programme and having the support of the other people at our monthly group was fantastic and has helped me turn my vague ideas into a real business’.
This Social Innovators Programme helped Grace to set up her business called MissKick. It aims to engage and support girls in football locally and has three parts: MissKick Ltd (products and merchandise), the a ‘not for profit’ MissKick Foundation and the MissKick Academy. The MissKick Foundation is all about giving young girls the opportunity to play and coach football for free. The Foundation’s main focus is to give opportunities to girls from areas of high deprivation, who may not have had the chance to engage with the sport and reap the benefits. Although it will be initially supported by grant funding, Grace has developed a range of ‘campaign’ t-shirts and technical wear and the profits from these will support the Foundation in the longer term.
Grace is working alongside Alan Mockford, a former coach with extensive experience in working in women’s football, and local businessman Alan Horridge who adds his skills in finance and strategy. Due to initial interest from other areas of Lancashire they are currently trialing taster sessions of the Engagement scheme elsewhere but the main aim is to get the MissKick programmes running throughout Skelmersdale in the near future The MissKick Academy is the third element to the business and this will focus on player development – supporting women who are currently playing football – with the overall aim of delivering football development programmes.
So what does the future hold? Although still in its early stages, MissKick is already going from strength to strength. Grace has just been accepted onto the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator programme and this will give her access to a business mentor, one to one coaching, business development workshops and free office accommodation for at least six months.
All in all, the sky’s the limit for Grace’s determination to nurture the considerable skills and talents of local girls.
This article was produced by Well Skelmersdale on October 10, 2019