Donegal Sports Partnership has announced the commencement of a Soccer for Peace Programme which is being funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI).

Donegal Sports Partnership, in collaboration with the Football Association of Ireland, Irish Football Association, Institute FC, Finn Harps FC, junior soccer clubs in Donegal and schools will roll out a recreational and educational soccer programme in three identified regions in the North West - East Donegal, West Donegal and Derry (Waterside area).

The project team appointed for the programme includes Brian Dorrian from Killybegs, Hugh Carlin from Derry and Margaret O Donnell from Letterkenny. All three have a comprehensive experience in the delivery of sports projects across the North West.

Commenting on the latest initiative of the Donegal Sports Partnership, co-ordinator, Myles Sweeney, thanked the International Fund for Ireland for investing once again in sport.

Myles said, "In this instance, soccer has been identified as a tool for developing local communities across Donegal and Derry. This investment will provide bespoke training and support to approximately 12 soccer clubs, as well as provide upskilling and personal development programmes to individuals in the North West. This programme has great potential and we are very much looking to rolling it out in the areas earmarked.”

The overall objectives of the programme are:

  • To develop greater awareness around cultural differences, relationships, racism and sectarianism within the identified communities.
  • To support and integrate local communities and help develop stronger and more resilient young adults to help them take on life challenges.
  • To promote value based soccer coaching, effort over results and a commitment to promote positive mental health and good relations through sport.

    The programme will be tailored to each individual community and will be aligned to local needs, among actions will be:

    The undertaking of a dedicated needs analysis of the targeted communities and soccer clubs in order to gain a better understanding of the key issues and concerns at grassroots level and to raise an awareness of the Soccer for Peace Programme.

    The rolling out of a suite of sports training & development programmes for young adults residing within the targeted areas. The suite of training programmes for participants will aim to develop positive leadership, personal development and sports coaching skills.

    Supporting the delivery of soccer coaching programmes to local schools and communities with the areas targeting those most marginalised and disadvantaged for support.

    Strengthening cross border engagement through sports events and workshops involving the participating clubs, schools and community groups.

    The International Fund for Ireland is an independent international organisation which was established by the British and Irish Governments in 1986. Financed by contributions from the USA, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the Fund promotes economic and social advance, and encourages contact, dialogue and reconciliation between nationalists and unionists throughout Ireland.

    At its core, the Fund's mission is to tackle the underlying causes of sectarianism and violence and to build reconciliation between people and within and between communities throughout the island of Ireland.

    Further information on the programme can be obtained from Myles Sweeney Coordinator Donegal Sports Partnership [email protected] 074 9116078 / 0749116079

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