Karen Bardsley and Jess Park spent time with footballers from the first ever Manchester City Women’s team, as part of City in the Community’s (CITC) International Women’s Day celebrations.

The City and England stars took timeout to visit CITC’s Walking Football project, which includes women who made up the Club’s inaugural all-female squad.  

Speaking at the session, Karen commented on how the women had paved the way for her own career. 

“They’ve had to go through a lot without many opportunities like what we have now, so it makes me feel really grateful,” she said.  


“If they didn’t put the graft in when they did and if they didn’t have the passion that they do, then we could definitely not be here today. 

“It’s fun hanging out with them. They’ve got loads and loads of stories and anecdotes that they can share with everyone, which in my opinion is actually really inspiring. 

“It really inspires me to understand where they’ve been and makes me want to take those learnings forward.”

City in the Community provides two free walking football sessions per week, aimed at engaging older participants in regular physical activity.  

By coming to the sessions, participants can meet others and build social relationships. Some individuals attend for the social interaction specifically, as this is the only place that they have someone to talk to.  

CITC takes this social interaction further by giving participants the chance to travel and play other Premier League teams that also have walking football sessions. 

The charity also aims to bring people of all ages together through the project, by welcoming its volunteers and young leaders to help lead sessions. 

City in the Community’s Outreach Manager, Martin Ingham-Griffiths, said: “Introducing Karen to our walking footballers was a really special moment. 

“I don’t think many people realise the difference some of our participants made to the future of women’s football, and we are extremely proud to have them as part of the City in the Community family. 

“Many walking footballers tell us how the sessions provide an opportunity for them to continue playing the sport they love, in a safe space where they can meet new people and reminisce with old friends. 

“We’d like to thank both Karen and Jess Park who came to visit the session and hope that this spotlight will encourage even more people to take up football at any age.” 

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. 

IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.  

Strike the IWD 2022 pose and share your #BreakTheBias image, video, resources, presentation or articles on social media using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage further people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world.  

To keep up to date with CITC activity, follow them on Twitter @CITCtweets, as well as Instagram and Facebook @CITCmancity.