A new project is using sport and physical activity programmes to build positive long-lasting relationships in Donegal and Derry.
The “Community Active Play Project” has received funding of €115,000 from the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) under the organisation’s Communities in Partnership Programme (CiPP) which has a focus on developing and embedding sustainable relationships on a cross-border basis through supporting cooperation and innovation between groups and organisations North and South.
The project will be led by Donegal Local Sports Partnership (DLSP), in collaboration with Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership (WNP) and will develop and implement a series of sport and physical activity programmes. It will work specifically with community organisations in Letterkenny, Donegal Town and Waterside Neighbourhood Renewal Area with the purpose of engaging adults and children from disadvantaged cross-border urban communities.
Paddy Harte, IFI Chair commented on the launch of the project: “The launch of “Community Active Play Project” represents an exciting new opportunity for the communities involved. The concept of “Active Play” with a primary focus on recreational games, sports and physical activity is a wonderful means by which to engage and work with communities. Engagement through the medium of sport and physical activity helps to break down barriers and create new relationships while positively impacting physical and emotional wellbeing.”
“I want to commend Donegal Local Sports Partnership whose foresight and expertise recognised the huge potential of using Active Play as the foundation for this cross-border community project and who have now joined forces with the Waterside Partnership Area to develop and roll-out the series of activities.”
“We are confident that the exemplary relationship building credentials of both organisations will facilitate positive community engagement and provide an avenue in which to make a strong contribution to improving the lived experiences of adults and children in the affected cross-border urban communities.”
“We are particularly pleased to support this project under our Communities in Partnership Programme, a programme which values innovation and the creation of positive and long-lasting relationships between cross-border communities who share similar challenges.”
Myles Sweeney, CEO, Donegal Local Sports Partnership (DLSP) said, “Donegal Local Sports Partnership express their gratitude to the International Fund for Ireland under the Communities in Partnership Programme for supporting this innovative and exciting opportunity to bring communities together under an ‘Active Play’ banner.”
“We look forward to continuing our work to build new relationships between communities in Donegal Town, Letterkenny and the Waterside Partnership area building a platform of respect, understanding and affinity with the respective communities. We also recognise the power of Active Play as a mechanism for increased participation in sport and physical activity, increasing the key fundamental movement skills of children as well as giving them increased confidence to participate in other forms of physical activity.”
Alison Wallace, Strategy Manager at Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership said, “Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership are delighted that the Active Play Programme has received funding and to be part of the cross-border partnership delivering the programme. We see the use of Active Play as an exciting and innovative way to build cross-border working and to support the further development of community relations in the Waterside.”
The “Community Active Play Project” has been divided into four action areas rolled out over a 12-month period. It will commence with the programme development, consultation, and set-up with community groups.
Phase two will see the recruitment and training of 45 “Active Play Leaders” from within each community followed by phase three with the roll-out of an “Active Play” programme of 8-12 weeks duration in three areas with an expected 120 children aged 8-12 benefitting.
The final phase will involve a cross-border showcase event sharing the learnings from the pilot to other relevant community organisations.