The Irish Football Association’s ‘Football For All’ project re-launched its EU PEACE III funded programme ‘Looking Back to Move Forward’ at the Playhouse in Derry on Wednesday with support from Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland International Manager Michael O’Neill and drama students from St Cecilia’s College.
The Football For All project is delivered locally with support from the European Union’s PEACE III Programme, managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the Community Relations Council/Pobal Consortium.
Students from St Cecilia’s College got proceedings underway by performing a drama piece based around the topic of tackling hate crime which supports the ‘Hands Off My Friend’ Campaign.
Northern Ireland International Manager Michael O’Neill introduced a short film about the grassroots initiative, Street League, which supports marginalised and homeless men.
Michael commented: “With valued support from PEACE III Programme, the IFA is committed to working in partnership with community groups, clubs, fans and volunteers to promote Football For All throughout all levels of the game. Grassroots initiatives like Street League demonstrate how sport is able to harness a common passion, and use it as a basis to promote learning, respect for diversity and self development.”
Among the speakers at the re-launch event was Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness who said:
“This project provides an opportunity for people, from all backgrounds, to come together through sport to promote good relations and mutual respect. The funding from the EU Peace programme enables initiatives, such as this, to develop meaningful community relations and promote inclusive sport, free from discrimination and regardless of race and religion.”
The Football For All project will continue to focus on using football as a hook to promote peace and reconciliation, develop partnerships and build capacity within clubs, fans and communities.
‘Looking Back to Move Forward’ highlights areas where we can learn from our history to help shape our future.
‘Looking Back to Move Forward’ aims to reach beyond the sport of football to invest in education and social development, creating advocates for change within communities and peer groups.
Other key elements of the project include the development of a new full time FFA post based in Derry, ‘Dealing with the Past’ seminar events, intergenerational storytelling workshops at clubs and the creation of a FFA youth forum to give young people a voice on community relations issues facing football. The project will be delivered along with the continued support and work within the domestic leagues and international supporters groups.
For more information on the project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or keep up-to-date with activities on twitter @michaelffa8.