Derry school selected to benefit from Mental Health Athlete Mentorship programme

St Cecilia’s College in Derry are among 25 secondary schools who have been selected to benefit from a dedicated Mental Health Athlete Mentorship programme.

The programme is part of Lidl Northern Ireland’s award-winning Sport for Good initiative, with each school also scoring £1,000 worth of brand-new sports equipment. The winners were selected for the programme following a call out for competition entries in October and were nominated by local shoppers.

A team of the north’s best-known athletes have been selected and specially trained by the Youth Sport Trust, the UK’s leading charity improving young people’s education and development through sport and play, to run a series of workshops targeted at secondary school pupils, with a focus on boosting young people’s social skills, self-esteem and body confidence through sports participation.

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Representing a strong cross-section of sport and boasting an impressive array of achievements, the stellar line up of NI sports stars delivering this year’s mental health workshops include four-time Paralympic athletics champion Michael McKillop MBE, Olympic steeplechase athlete, Kerry O’Flaherty, Olympic hockey heroes, Shirley McCay MBE and Eugene Magee, Northern Ireland netball international and Armagh ladies' Gaelic footballer, Caroline O’Hanlon, and female rugby union international and Olympian, Ashleigh Baxter.

Sporting heroes get in the game to deliver Lidl Northern Ireland’s Sport for Good Schools Programme mental health workshops

Shirley McCay MBE said: “The Lidl Northern Ireland Sport for Good initiative has been a hugely exciting opportunity for me to get involved with local communities and to continue to support youth sport. When visiting schools to deliver this year’s workshops, I want to show these young adults that there is more to sport than the physical benefits. From gaining confidence in their abilities, to building resilience when things don’t go to plan on game day, these are vital skills that will transfer to their everyday lives.

“I am delighted to be involved in delivering the mental health workshops for the second year in a row and look forward to visiting the winning schools and working alongside the pupils."

This year, the programme aims to include a wider representation of lower ranking schools for Income Affecting Children’s Deprivation (IACD) in a bid to level the playing field for those most disadvantaged and to support schools to build back healthier, happier and more resilient students.

The Sport for Good campaign is part of Lidl Northern Ireland’s commitment to support communities across Northern Ireland and forms part of the retailer’s longstanding ‘Lidl Community Works’ programme. First launched in 2014, the ‘Lidl Community Works’ programme has engaged more than 750 local community groups to date and raised more than £600,000 for charity partner NSPCC Northern Ireland.

Sporting heroes get in the game to deliver Lidl Northern Ireland’s Sport for Good Schools Programme mental health workshops.

For more information, visit lidl-ni.co.uk/lidl-community-works