Sport Changes Life for Local School Kids | Honour Roll Programme

Children attending a sports camp | NICRC

Primary seven pupils from five schools celebrated the completion of a 10-week Sport Changes Life Honour Roll Programme with a day of cross community multi-sport and good relations themed activities held in The Pavilion Sports Complex at Stormont.

The programme supported children moving from primary to secondary education through a range of mediums and themed workshops. Schools participating included Mullaghglass PS and St. Ronan’s PS, both in Newry, and Belvoir PS, Taughmonagh PS, and Blythefield PS in Belfast.

The Honour Roll Programme, which was funded by Radius Housing, helped the school children meet their potential and reduce stress ahead of changing schools. The project is part of the good relations work being delivered by Radius with guidance from both the Belfast and Newry Advisory Groups of stakeholders and residents as part of their delivery of T:BUC (Together: Building United Communities) and Housing or All initiatives. Pupils celebrated their achievements and were presented with certificates by Radius Director of Communities, Loma Wilson, on the day.

Radius has 12 shared housing developments across Northern Ireland. The 5-Year Good Relations Plans include “bridging” events for the wider community to encourage good relations outcomes under five themes, including Health and Wellbeing, Education and Training and Arts and Culture.

Sport Changes Life mentored the 187 pupils through their own individual journeys each week, helping them to develop plans which suited their needs and abilities. It aimed to identify the potential within each pupil, raise awareness on a range of subjects and channel energy in a positive way. It included topics such as Anti-bullying and Staying Safe Online, Health and Well-being and Goal Setting and Cultural Awareness through respect and acceptance.

The project was supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s Housing for All’Shared Housing Programme. The Programme has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society. Over £10.4 million has been invested in the Belfast and Newry shared housing developments and associated delivery of their five-year Good Relations Plans.

Speaking at the celebration event, Loma Wilson, Director of Communities at Radius Housing, said:

“Sport Changes Life is such an exciting and positive programme that fits within our good relations delivery, and we are delighted to be able to bring school children from across our Shared housing areas to complete the programme and join the Sports Changes Life Honour Roll. During delivery of the programme you can see how the children’s awareness, understanding and confidence grows and removes barriers and fears of transitioning to ‘big’ school. The celebration event today allowed the children to come together across communities, take part in sports, good relations workshops, and nature walks and just have a great time getting to know each other – despite the cold weather!”

Alan Taggart, Programme Manager at Sport Changes Life Foundation, said:

"Sport Changes Life are very proud and thankful to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Radius Housing to facilitate the Honour Roll Programme with five primary schools. This programme enables us to deliver a 10-week sport led personal development programme to P7 pupils where our team of sport mentors have been able to introduce sports skills to young people. This programme has included personal development and mutual understanding (PDMU) and led on activities to address sensitive issues around good relations. These sessions focus on increasing awareness and encourages the children to recognise their own potential as well as promoting respect and empathy for others from all backgrounds."