Sport Matters Strategy

Sport Matters Northern Ireland strategy for sport and physical recreation for the period of 2009 to 2019, which focuses on improving participation, performance and places.

Sport for all

The Department aims to promote a culture of lifelong enjoyment and success in sport.

“Sport is for all. That includes you and those who care for you. Sport is a lifelong experience that brings many health, mental health, cultural and social benefits to all its participants. The key theme of the Department's Sport Matters Strategy is ‘a culture of lifelong enjoyment and success in sport’ and underpinning this aim is a specific target to increase the rate of participation in sport and physical recreation among people with a disability. This provides an opportunity for many to become involved in a favourite sport or recreational pastime that may help to keep you active, fit and healthy in body and mind. Don’t let your disability be a barrier to having an active and even competitive lifestyle For detail on how to become involved, contact Sport Northern Ireland on 02890 381222 or e-mail info@sportni.net.

Sport Matters

The Department promotes sport in the context of its strategy for sport: Sport Matters: The Northern Ireland Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation, 2009 – 2019. 

Vision

Sport Matters articulates a Vision for sport of “a culture of lifelong enjoyment and success in sport.” In pursuit of this vision, the Department oversees and monitors the delivery of targets for sport and physical recreation to be achieved over the 10 year life of the strategy. These targets reflect the current and anticipated needs of sport in the areas of:

  • participation
  • performance
  • places

Aims

Through Sport Matters the Department aspires to secure: -

  • a world class start and lifelong involvement in sport and physical recreation for all people
  • world class performances by teams and individuals
  • a sustainable sporting and physical recreation culture that contributes to broader Government objectives

Participation

The Department is seeking to improve levels and frequency of participation in sport and physical recreation across the Northern Ireland population.

Sport Matters contains 11 high level participation targets designed to achieve improvements in sports participation rates that fit with the UK chief medical officers' recommendations in relation to healthy physical activity. The targets are aimed at children and adults, and groups of people (eg women, people with a disability, people suffering socio-economic disadvantage) currently under represented in sport. The participation targets set out within Sport Matters also contribute to wider Government agendas in areas such as health, education, the economy, community relations, community development, crime reduction, and addressing social disadvantage.

To achieve these targets, the Department works with a range of partners to improve opportunities for participation at school, community and grass roots levels.

Performance

The Department is seeking to encourage the development of more successful sports organisations, systems and athletes.

Sport Matters contains nine performance targets that are designed to support the continuous modernisation of sports organisations, the development of coaches and coaching standards, the development of talent and improved athlete performance.

As well as being important in their own right, the performance targets set out within Sport Matters are an essential complement to its participation targets. They also contribute to wider Government agendas in areas such as the economy, employment and learning and improving Northern Ireland's image at home and abroad.

Places

The Department is supporting and encouraging the development of modern, more widely accessible and fit for purpose places that can be used for sporting and physical recreation purposes.

Sport Matters contains six places targets aimed at encouraging:

  • the development of more multi-purpose and locally accessible community sports and recreation facilities
  • appropriate use of public land and the countryside for sport and recreation
  • the complementary development of Olympic and Paralympic standard facilities
  • major stadium development
  • legislative and planning policy.

The Places targets set out within Sport Matters are intended to underpin those relating to participation and performance. They also contribute to wider Government agendas in areas like the economy, urban and rural development, community development, community relations, community safety, crime reduction, tackling disadvantage and improving Northern Ireland's image at home and abroad.

Sport Matters was developed by DCAL, in partnership with Sport Northern Ireland, and approved by the Northern Ireland Executive in December 2009.

Through Sport Matters the Department aspires to secure:

  • a world class start and lifelong involvement in sport and physical recreation for all people
  • world class performances by teams and individuals
  • a sustainable sporting and physical recreation culture that contributes to broader Government objectives
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