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Sports Council Scores For Disadvantaged Areas With £2.4 Million Lottery Investment


Community Sport Programme

The Sports Council for Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, today announced a planned investment of £2.4m for disadvantaged areas and under-represented groups through the launch of the Community Sport Programme.

To date 20 organisations from across Northern Ireland have been successful in securing between £30,000 and £129,000 through the Community Sport Programme. Each organisation is now in a position to recruit a Community Sports Development Officer, on a full or part time basis, to plan and deliver a range of activities that meet local needs.

This strand is the first element of the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Sport programme. The second element, Active Lifestyles, is worth £2.1 million and was launched last September.

Ultimately, each project, although unique to its own community, aims to use sport and physical activity to achieve a number of outcomes namely:

  • increased in levels of participation;  

  • improved health, fitness and well being;  

  • increased self-esteem and confidence; and 

  • enhanced social cohesion leading to improved levels of social capital.

Research has shown that participation in sport and physical activity varies significantly between different groups, particularly in disadvantaged areas and by certain sections of the community; including older people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and other under represented groups. This research has also shown that increasing levels of participation in appropriate sport and physical activity can contribute to the outcomes of the programme.

Research on community focused sport by the University of Edinburgh, concludes ‘Where sport projects provide a contribution to wider aspects of the community, they are more likely to be sustainable.’1

Pilot Initiative
Realising the benefits of community participation, the Sports Council, with the financial support of Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Reform Plan Funds, initiated a ‘pilot’ Community Sport Programme investing £600,000 in the most deprived wards (according to Noble Index), within five district council’s as well as one of Northern Ireland’s most under-represented groups – people with disabilities.

The main focus of the ‘pilot’ programme was the appointment of eight Community Sport Development Officers, each of whom has designed a programme unique to its community’s needs.

An example of this is the TRIAX area of Derry. Thomas McCallion a Community Sport Development Officer employed by Derry City Council, but whose post is funded by the pilot Community Sport Programme, has in partnership with Brandywell and Bogside Health Forum and the Old Library Trust (as part of the DSD Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy: People and Place), designed an innovative schools participation programme which is aimed at improving the health and well-being of children and young people, which include walking and healthy eating.

Thomas McCallion stated that the community has embraced the programme:

"I am happy to say that the school principals and teachers have taken the idea on board with great enthusiasm. The benefit of the school's initiative is simple: it is the combination of physical health development with improved health educational awareness."

Extension of the Pilot
The extension of Programme, supported through the Big Lottery Fund has made a total of 20 awards to organisations targeting the top 25% of Northern Ireland’s most deprived electoral wards (according to Noble Multiple Index of Deprivation) and/or under-represented groups, such older people, people with disabilities.

Professor Eric Saunders OBE, Chairman of the Sports Council commented:

“This investment by ourselves and our partners in the Big Lottery Fund is a major contribution in tackling social injustice and inequalities. The programme demonstrates the ability of sport to heal divided communities, improve health and well-being and lift those most disadvantaged out of the poverty of aspiration.”

Table 1 below provides details of those organisations funded by the Community Sport Programme.


District Council



Belfast City Council

Derry City Council

Newry and Mourne District Council

Lisburn City Council

Coleraine Borough Council

Fermanagh Borough Council

Craigavon Borough Council

Age Concern Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland wide remit.

Ballymoney Borough Council


Ballymoney Borough Council

Newhill, Ballyhoe and Corkey, Route, Carnany, Benvardin, Cloghmills, Dunloy, Killoquin (upper and lower), Knockaholet, Stranocum and The Vow.

Belfast City Council


Clarendon Development Association

Crumlin, St Annes, Woodvale, Shankill, Ardoyne, Glencairn, Highfield and Ballysillan.



Greater Village Regeneration Trust (GVRT)

Blackstaff and Shaftesbury (Neighbourhood Renewal).


Lagan Watersports Ltd

St Anne's, Ballymacarret, The Mount, Shaftsbury, Woodstock, Blackstaff, Island, Botanic and Bloomfield.


Lower Ormeau Residents’ Action Group

Specific areas in Botantic and Shaftesbury wards, Donegall Pass, Markets and Lower Ormeau Road.


North Belfast Play Forum

Crumlin, St Anne’s, New Lodge, Ardoyne, Waterworks, Duncairn.



Waterworks, Cliftonville, Cavehill, Duncairn and Ardoyne.

Castlereagh Borough Council

Castlereagh Borough Council

Enler, Tullycarnet, Cregagh and Beechill.

Coleraine Borough Council

Coleraine Borough Council

Ballysally, Churchland, Cross Glebe, Agivey, Atlantic, Central Dunluce, Garvagh, Mountsandel, Ringsend, Royal Portrush and The Cuts.

Craigavon Borough Council

Brownlow Campus Sports Trust

Court, Drumgask, Drumgor, Corcrain, Tullygally, Drumnamoe, (Neighbourhood Renewal)


Craigavon Borough Council

Court, Drumgask, Drumgask, Drumgor, Corcrain, Tullygally, Drumnahoe and Ballyoran.

Derry City Council

Derry City Council

Waterside and Victoria (Neighbourhood Renewal)


Derry City Council

East and West Chantallow and Carnhill (Neighbourhood Renewal)


Derry Healthy Cities

Brandywell/Creggan South & St Peters (Derry), East, Castlederg (Strabane), Binevenagh and Coolessan (Limavady).

Down District Council

Down Sports Association

Flying Horse (also known as Ballymore) and Cath.

Larne District Council

Larne District Council

Antville, Ballyoran, Seacourt, Central and Craigyhill.

Newry and Mourne District Council

Newry and Mourne Carers limited

Ballybot, Besbrook, Camlough, Creggan, Crossmaglen, Daisey Hill, Derrymore, Drumgullion, Newtownhamilton, Silver Bridge, St Mary’s and St Patrick’s.

Omagh District Council

Youth Sport Omagh Ltd

Beragh, Camowen, Clanabogan, Dergmoney, Drumnakilly, Drumquin, Faitywater, Fintona, Gortin, Gortrush, Killyclogher, Lisnawlly, Newtownsaville, Owen Killew, Sixmilecross, Termon and Trillick.

Strabane District Council

Strabane District Council

Strabane District – Castlederg, Clare, Dunnamanagh, East, Glenderg, Newtownsteward, Plunbridge, Sion Mills, South, Victoris Bridge and West.


If you require any further information regarding the Community Sport Programme announcement, please contact Joan Grenville at Fire IMC

Notes To editors

This Community Sport programme has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the joint operating name of the New Opportunities Fund and the National Lottery Charities Board (which made grants under the name of the Community Fund). The Big Lottery Fund, launched on 1st June 2004, is distributing half of all National Lottery good cause funding across the UK.

Details of the Big Lottery Fund’s programmes, including Active Lifestyles, and grant awards are available at: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk




1- Realising the Potential of Cultural Services: The Case for Sport, by Fred Coalter, Centre for Leisure

Research at the University of Edinburgh, November 2001



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Last modified: Monday August 22, 2020.