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Paddy Harte, Board Member IFI, pictured with participants and community representatives at the official launch of Soccer for Peace, a two year cross-border, cross-community programme of capacity building and leadership training.

Donegal Sports Partnership Launch Soccer for Peace Project

Published on:  02 Oct 2018

Local residents and community representatives recently came together at McGettigans Hotel, Letterkenny for the official launch of Soccer for Peace, a two year cross-border, cross-community programme of capacity building and leadership training.   

Funded by the International Fund for Ireland and administered by Donegal Sports Partnership with support of the FAI, IFA and Institute FC, the project will target up to 45 young adults aged 18+ years across three identified regions in Donegal.  These include East Donegal – Newtowncunningham, Killea, St Johnston, Lifford and Finn Valley and West Donegal – Rosses, Gweedore, Cloughaneely as well as the Waterside area in Derry/Londonderry. 

A key aim of the two-year project is to promote tolerance and understanding by bringing young people together from local communities to provide accreditation in recognised and relevant qualifications that will benefit the participants and the wider community. The project is part of the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Impact Programme which aims to build sustainable peace and prosperity in areas suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation.

Following in-depth community consultation and research to identify local needs, the project was specifically designed to cater to the needs of the local community.  The core element of the programme will be the development and delivery of a programme of capacity building and leadership training for young adults to develop their personal and coaching skills and to leave a programme legacy.  The participants will complete a series of accredited and awareness based workshops, underpinned by a focus on building good relations.  They will then be tasked with delivering coaching programmes in local primary schools and community settings as part of their development and to extend the impact and legacy of the programme.   A minimum of nine local primary schools and 180 children aged 7-13 will participate in the coaching programme. 

The project will also incorporate a cross border twinning programme between all programme participants.  This phase of the programme will focus on building the programme legacy by twinning groups of marginalised young people and schools/community groups on both sides of the border.  This will involve a series of large sporting events and cross border capacity building workshops and will engage the Old Firm Alliance (Celtic & Rangers) to enhance the good relations aspect. 

Speaking at the event, Paddy Harte, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland, said that the Fund is committed to delivering real and positive transformation in communities through the Peace Impact Programme.  “This project is designed to address the legacy of conflict, current social and economic realities facing many rural communities, such as isolation and youth emigration, along with the uncertainties of Brexit.  By offering practical support, the participants can take better control of their lives and become more resilient to life’s challenges.    In particular, the project aims to increase people’s involvement in their local community and to encourage them to explore the differences and similarities of living in different states but only a few miles apart.  Through learning new skills, building relationships and gaining greater levels of cultural awareness, I have no doubt this project will leave a lasting positive legacy for the participants themselves and for their wider communities.  I wish everyone involved in the project success in the year ahead”.

Mr Harte took the opportunity to thank the international donors to the Fund - the European Union and the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - for their support.

Myles Sweeney, Co-ordinator Donegal Sports Partnership said: “On behalf of everyone involved in this project I would like to acknowledge the generous support we’ve received from the International Fund for Ireland for this project, without which we could not have proceeded.  The project is an excellent example of how sport can be used to support and integrate local communities and to help develop stronger and more resilient young adults to help them take on life challenges.  It is also an excellent example of cross community co-operation and support and I would like to acknowledge the important contribution of all our partners – clubs and individuals - who have enthusiastically got behind the project.”

For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.

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