4 October 2016
Leading housing association Helm Housing has teamed up with the Irish Football Association to launch Northern Ireland’s first ever Business Football League.
Eight five-a-side teams are on side for the Northern Ireland Housing Association League, which kicks off on Wednesday 5 October at PlayBall in Belfast’s Stormont Estate. The teams will battle it out over 10 weeks for the title of Northern Ireland’s champion housing association team.
The league is the brainchild of Denise Burns from Helm Housing. At the launch at the National Football Stadium she said: “A dedicated football league for housing associations is the perfect way to bring the whole sector together. It provides a fun and healthy way for housing professionals to network with their peers, while at the same time improving their well-being.
“We’re thrilled that both the Irish FA and NIFHA have partnered with us in making this happen. While it's the taking part that counts, I’m sure we’ll see some good football as the competitive streaks come out.”
Michael Boyd, Director of Football Development at the Irish FA, added: “We’re delighted to establish the first ever business football league in Northern Ireland along with Helm and NIFHA.
“At the IFA we want to encourage people of all ages and abilities to play football. It can be in the local park or leisure centre with your friends, or in a more organised league such as this one.
“Anything that gets people active and kicking a ball is welcomed, and you never know there could be a few late blooming football stars among these teams. It’s great to see the housing association sector leading the way.”
Cameron Watt, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations, was present at the launch to endorse the initiative.
He said: “It is really important that housing association staff have the opportunity to get together, enjoy themselves and share their experiences and knowledge. Supporting and promoting housing associations and their teams is at the heart of our work so this creative and innovative initiative is something we are pleased to endorse and be a part of. We look forward to seeing who will come out top.”
The housing associations lining out include Helm Housing, Fold, Choice, Clanmill, Alpha Housing, Connswater, Woodvale & Shankill and Co-Ownership. Games will take place on Wednesday evenings running between 6pm and 8pm - and football fans are encouraged to go along to support.