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Community Sport 

The Community Sport Team has been established within the Sports Development Unit in response to the growing recognition that sport and recreation play an important part in tackling a range of social problems. Sport can present an opportunity to engage young people in a positive alternative not just in terms of participation in activities, but across a range of social exclusion issues including education, employment and training, community leadership and healthy lifestyles.

The Sports Council for Northern Ireland remains committed to fulfil three main policy objectives:

- to increase committed participation in sport, especially among young
- to improve sporting performance and,
- to improve the management of sport and the image of Northern Ireland
  using sport.

Traditionally the Sports Council has worked along with governing bodies of sport, sports clubs, formal education and local authorities in a sustained effort to encourage participation and to improve standards of performance in sport.

Recognising the need to address inequalities in participation levels, the Sports Council and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure aim to initiate a radical programme of sports development aimed at those in society whose health and well-being is most at risk from low levels of participation in sport. 

The Sports Council has discovered that participation is relatively easy to secure among people with established and strong sporting networks. While the sporting middle classes in Northern Ireland retain high levels of belief and confidence and a strong capacity to deliver sporting opportunities, the challenge is to secure benefits for people who often lack self confidence and capacity and simultaneously, the levels of resources that are evident in well established sporting networks.

The Sports Council have identified four objectives that form the foundation of the implementation of a Community Sport Programme:

1. To secure the establishment of new structures which will target social
    need and social exclusion and build community participation amongst
    people living in disadvantaged areas and people with disabilities,
    through out reach work to make contact at street level.

2. Through increasing participation in sport and physical activity to
    improve the health and well being of people living in
    disadvantaged communities. This includes coaching and competition.

3. Through providing a comprehensive programme of education and
    training, to increase the knowledge and skills of people, therefore
    enabling them to contribute more fully to their local communities. 
    These programmes will develop mentoring and leadership roles, helping
    others and encouraging long term involvement in sport.

4. Through the community sport programme, to provide examples of good
    practice which clearly demonstrate sports contribution to addressing wider
    social issues.

The intended outcomes are to establish:
- a reduction in youth offending;
- a reduction in drug use;
- an increase in regular participation in sport and physical activity and
  encouraging a healthy lifestyle;
- an increase in personal and social capital and an increase in the capacity of
  individuals and groups to contribute to the development of their 

The team members are:-

John News - Community Sport Manager ([email protected])

Paul Whitten - Health, School Sports Coordinators, Youth Sport Trust ([email protected])

Paul Donnelly - Neighbourhood Development, Sport Development Planning and Local Authority based Liaison ([email protected])

John Beggs - Business Planning (NOF), Sports Development and Sports Lottery Fund Project Liaison Officer (
[email protected])




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Last modified: Monday November 07, 2020.