PeacePlayers Jingle Ball Tournament and Polar Plunge

Kids together at the Jingle Ball | NICRC

On the 10 December 2022, as a key part of its 20th Anniversary celebrations, PeacePlayers - Northern Ireland (PP-NI) hosted its 16th annual cross-community basketball tournament, Jingle Ball.

The Community Relations Council supports PeacePlayers through its Core Funding Scheme.

This end of Autumn-term celebration brings children and young people from all backgrounds together from some of Northern Ireland’s historically most divided areas. From 1 PM – 5 PM at Queens PEC, children and young people aged 8 to 14 worked together on integrated, co-ed teams to compete for the title of Jingle Ball Champions – awarded to the team who demonstrated the most sportsmanship throughout the course of the day.

Jingle Ball is more than just a tournament: it is a celebration of all the hard work the participants have put in over an 8-week period leading up to the event. There is music, dancing, and, more importantly, lots of happy faces. As a neutral space, Jingle Ball provides an opportunity for young people from different backgrounds to come together without the baggage of the past. Not only are they competing on teams with kids their age from a different background to their own, but they’re also competing, connecting and dancing with kids on other mixed teams from other areas of Belfast and Northern Ireland that they may never have met otherwise. 

This event has grown over the years to the extent that it requires PeacePlayers taking over both minor and large halls within Queens PEC.

This year PeacePlayers hosted 200 people on the day of the event with participants from East, North, South and West Belfast and from Mid and East Antrim; parents; staff; coaches; volunteers; board members and colleagues from the Google office in Dublin.

Aimee, who has been involved with PeacePlayers for 10 years as a past-participant and recently a coach on the Community Relations Council funded Coaching Development Programme was very excited for this year’s celebration:

“I couldn’t wait to see everyone and have my first Jingle Ball experience as a coach. Jingle Ball is important because it gives the younger participants a chance to play against the other teams and truly show the sportsmanship within their team and with other teams.”

A parent of a participant also reflected that her son “enjoyed every second of PeacePlayers and Jingle Ball. It gave him confidence and opportunities to form some great new friendships. He can’t wait to come back next year!”

PeacePlayers - Northern Ireland is incredibly excited to have played a part in providing children and young people the opportunity to learn together and have challenging conversations with peers through the lens of sport and form new friendships with those of different backgrounds at our 16th annual Jingle Ball tournament.

Polar Plunge

Over the past number of years staff, supporters and friends of PP-NI have taken to the icy waters of the Irish Sea to take part in PeacePlayers - Northern Ireland's Polar Plunge.

This year, on their 7th annual #Freeze4Peace challenge, 14 brave souls met together to dive into the Irish Sea in support of PeacePlayers’ work.

PeacePlayers - Northern Ireland uses sport, and specifically the game of basketball, to unite, educate and inspire children and young people from the historically divided parts of the community in Northern Ireland.

While the organisation is proud of its success, they still have the ambition to do more: to deliver more programmes, to more young people, in more geographical locations.

If you would like to show your support and congratulations to those who took part in the #Freeze4Peace challenge and to support the continued work in becoming more sustainable in efforts to create safe spaces for young leaders to form friendships and become advocates for peace and justice in our community and beyond, follow the link here: