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‘Football in the Community’ secures right result

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Local residents and community representatives came together to cheer on teams from Sligo FC, Ballinamallard FC, Donegal Youth Services and Tubbercurry FITC at a special soccer tournament held in Ballinamallard football grounds to mark the latest participants’ success in the 2016 Football in the Community Programme. The Ballinamallard football ground was chosen as a cross border venue for the final event to celebrate the inclusivity of the projects cross community and cross border relations.


Administered by the Sligo Young Enterprises and funded by the International Fund for Ireland, 2016 marks the third successive year of this highly successful and innovative youth training programme. The project which uses the medium of football to engage young people has supported and trained over 60 young people between the ages of 16-25 years over the duration of the programme.


The Football in the Community programme was specifically designed to cater to the needs of the local community in Sligo with participants gaining qualifications in FETAC level 4 across a range of skills including soccer coaching, refereeing qualifications, first aid, child protection, leadership skills and mediation. The initiative has surpassed all expectations and Football in the Community has been heralded as a best practice model for youth development across the southern and northern border counties, with interest expressed from Drogheda to Derry.


Speaking at the presentation of accreditations to the 2016 participants at the conclusion of the tournament, Hilary Singleton, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland said: “The Fund is committed to the long-term task of breaking down traditional barriers and helping to build positive relations in communities through our Peace Impact Programme. This project has proved to be highly successful in achieving those objectives and I congratulate organisers and participants alike for their enthusiastic participation in the project over the past three years. Each participant has gained many transferable skills which will enable them to become youth leaders in their own right and to help train and support other young people from local communities. I believe the Programme will continue to have a lasting, long-term impact on reconciliation in Sligo and the surrounding border area. I believe also, it is a fitting conclusion to the 2016 project to host this cross border tournament here in Ballinamallard which had engaged as a cross border partner with Sligo Young Enterprise on the project.”
Ciaran Kelly, Project Manager at Sligo Young Enterprises said: “This project is an excellent example of how sport can be used to help break down traditional barriers. The response we have had to the Programme over the past three years has been very positive and surpassed all expectations. It has provided valuable skills that will enhance the employment prospects of young people and for some participants enable them to progress to third level education. We are most grateful to the International Fund for Ireland for funding the programme over the past three years.


The IFI’s Peace Impact Programme (PIP) aims to build sustainable peace and reconciliation within and between communities suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation where there have been low levels of engagement in peace building and where there remains a continued risk of instability and violence.