Most people will remember the national This Girl Can campaign from television adverts showing strong, brave females out pounding pavements and plunging into outdoor pools! The national campaign has been a great motivator for women of all ages and abilities to try a sport they like and to get moving.

The challenge for Active Sussex has been around how to bring that national message to local people in Sussex and how to appeal to women and girls from Chichester to Crawley who may be new to exercise.

We knew that to engage local audiences we needed to work with somebody who fitted the Sussex identity and was easy to relate to, especially for those people getting into exercise for the first time.

Engaging a ‘former binge-eating, beer-guzzling ex-smoker’.

In October 2015, we started working with local fitness blogger and non-traditional sports superstar Tess Agnew! A Brighton-native, Tess, who was 29 when we started working with her, perhaps wasn’t the most likely candidate to become a ‘fitness freak’. In fact, Tess was a self-confessed ‘former binge-eating, beer-guzzling ex-smoker’.

Tess has been documenting her journey from inactive to super active on her blog – for all to see, and she doesn’t shy away from red-faced selfies and having a laugh!

What’s great about Tess is that she doesn’t just stick to one sport, she tries her hand at everything! At any given time, she can be mountain biking the South Downs, running 10km races, squatting her own body weight for 3 sets of 10 or swimming lengths!
Tess tries…

With so many different sports to choose from in Sussex, it made a lot of sense to work with Tess to create a series of videos where she tried out a mixture of unique and traditional sports.

These videos were intended to inspire beginners to try out new sports and activities. What you see in all the videos is just how much fun Tess is having and how much support she is receiving as a beginner.
In 2016-2017, we produced a four-part video series with the following activities:

  • Tess tries skateboarding
  • Tess tries cycling
  • Tess tries trampolining
  • Tess tries synchronised swimming

These short films show just how easy it is to get into a new sport and with many taking place in the evenings or on weekends, how you can fit a new sport in around your busy work life.

We continue to work with Tess to promote opportunities and activities for women and girls across Sussex to get active and stay active for life!

Tackling inactivity in Sussex
We know that women are generally less active than men. In fact, 27% of women are inactive compared to 24% of men (Sport England Active Lives Report 2015/16). This is especially true when it comes to teenage girls, female parents and women of retirement age.
We are committed to working with local partners across Sussex to tackle inactivity not just for women and girls but also for young people aged 14-19, people with a life-limiting illness or disability and those living in the 24 most inactive wards in Sussex.

We want get people more healthy, more active, more often! Find out more at

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