Football Makes Our Shared History receives Lottery funding

The National Children’s Football Alliance (NCFA) has been awarded a £67,500 grant from The National Heritage Lottery Fund towards its Football Makes Our Shared History (FMOSH) project.

The unique sports heritage initiative brings together Northern Ireland’s Football Association, Gaelic Athletic Association, Ulster Rugby, Ulster Hockey, Peace Players and many more children’s sports to celebrate shared history.

With this funding, FMOSH will create an exhibition of children’s research on how sports contribute to our shared history and the creation of peace pitches. It will also fund the creation of peace pitches by twinning designated areas of play with Flanders Peace Field in Belgium, site of the First World War Christmas Truces in 1914.

Football Makes Our Shared Heritage will be launched at Queen’s University Belfast on Thursday, February 17.

Group pictured in the Foyle Down Syndrome Trust’s offices in The Shared Future centre, Waterside, on Monday afternoon last, at the launch of the National Children’s Football Alliance sponsored ‘Football makes our Shared History ‘project. Included in the photograph are Ernie Brennan, managing director, National Children’s Football Alliance, on the left, staff members Conor McGilloway and Sue McElwee and Christopher Cooper, manager FDST. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2206GS – 066


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Karl Oakes, head of sport at Queen’s, said, “Over the last 50 years across our indoor and outdoor facilities and through sport development programmes, we’ve seen that sport is a fantastic way of bringing students from different backgrounds together.

“If we needed a reminder of the benefits that sport gives us in terms of health and wellbeing, social interaction and uniting communities, the pandemic has certainly given us that.”

All research and oral histories collated during the project will be included on the National Children’s Football Alliance website and a short documentary film will be screened at Queens University Belfast later this year.

National Children’s Football Aliance, projects director, Paul Cooper said, “Football Makes Our Shared History is the essence of play. We are delighted that NI’s great sporting associations value community games of all disciplines. We look forward to seeing the children’s work and how they connect to their games with grandparents, relatives and friends. This is about the historic nature of play and how it continues to shape our landscape.”


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Brian McAvoy, CEO of Ulster Gaelic Athletic Association, said, “‘We place a great emphasis on outreach and using sport to bring people together from different social, religious and ethnic backgrounds. We look forward to supporting this project.”

Schools, clubs, groups and teams are invited to take part in Football Makes Our Shared History. A a short documentary film will be screened at Queen’s later this year. To find out more, visit