A strategy launched today will deliver its vision of a lifelong involvement in sport and physical activity, delivering an active, healthy, resilient and inclusive society which recognises and values both participation and excellence, says Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey.
‘Active Living,’ the new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy was launched at an event in Stormont where 240 primary school children got the opportunity to try out a range of activities including Boccia, GAA sports, Hockey, Cricket, Rugby, Football, Orienteering, Climbing, Skateboarding and Boxing.
At the event guests heard Olympians Paddy Barnes (Boxing) and Shirley McCay (Hockey) and Paralympian Claire Taggart (Boccia) discuss with Professor Marie Murphy (UUJ) the importance of physical activity and sport and how it influenced them as they grew up, how they developed their talents and the experiences they have had while competing at the highest levels.
The Minister said:
“The strategy aims to get more people, more active, more of the time. That must begin with children having access to more opportunities, exposure to different sports and making sure that they have fun and enjoy a quality experience.”
“There is a need to have a focus on not just competitive sport but on our communities, where everyone, regardless of ability or gender has the opportunity to be physically active and potentially competitively successful.”
‘Active Living’ was developed through engagement with over 200 groups and was refined following a full public consultation. Using a co-design approach, it has taken over four years of research, sectoral engagement, community engagement and consultation.
The Minister concluded,
“I want this strategy to bring about change, to challenge the normal approach by removing barriers to inclusion. I want it to drive participation rates upwards by increasing opportunities for as many people as possible to take part in sport and physical activity.
“Our clear and simple aim for the future of sport and physical activity is to get more people, more active, more of the time.”
A copy of the strategy can be accessed at www.communities-ni.gov.uk
Notes to editors:
Pic 1 Strandtown Primary School , Belfast, Year 7 pupils take part in hockey coaching session with Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey at the launch of the new sport and physical activity strategy at The Pavilion, Stormont today.
Pic 2. Castle Gardens School, Newtownards, Year 6 pupils take part in a cricket coaching session with Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey at the launch of the new sport and physical activity strategy at The Pavilion, Stormont today.
Pic 3. Casey Cunningham of Strandtown Primary School, Belfast has some fun sparring with Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey during a boxing coaching session at the launch of the new sport and physical activity strategy at The Pavilion, Stormont today. Looking on is Olympic medallist, Paddy Barnes.
Pic 4 Claire Taggart, an Olympic Boccia player pictured with with Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey and Strandtown Primary School , Belfast, pupils at the launch of the new sport and physical activity strategy at The Pavilion, Stormont today.
2. ‘Active Living’ will help to shape the future of sport and physical activity in Northern Ireland for the next decade and more.
3. The Strategy will communicate the benefits of sport and physical activity and will bring long term benefits to the health of the population, our economy and to the educational abilities of children and young people.
4. ‘Active Living’ will be delivered through the 6 key themes which the strategy is built around, these are:
- Recovery from the pandemic.
- Promoting participation, inclusion and community engagement.
- Promoting excellence in sport.
- Promoting partnership and integration.
- Providing inclusive and shared spaces and places.
- Promoting the benefits of sport and physical activity.
5. In developing the Strategy, the Project Team spoke to people from across sport, from academia and critically with those from groups who would not normally engage in sport and physical activity or whose voices have perhaps not been heard before.
6. Delivering the outcomes of this ambitious Strategy will be a challenge that requires a collaborative and innovative approach which must include sporting organisations, Councils, Government Departments and others, working together, who all understand the importance of working for the good of the sporting sector and wider society.
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