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Sport Changes Life for Tyrone School Kids

16 May 2022

96 Primary 7 children from Holy Trinity PS, Cookstown and Dungannon PS have completed a unique Sports Changes Life Programme and have celebrated with a tour of the National Stadium in Belfast.

The programme, which was funded by Radius Housing and Apex Housing, used sport to help the school children meet their potential, with a particular focus on the transition from primary to secondary school, aiming to help reduce stress over what is a difficult time. The support for the project forms part of the good relations work being done by Radius and Apex, in partnership with local Advisory Group stakeholders and residents to develop Good Relations Plans through their Housing for All schemes at Burnvale Crescent, Cookstown and Sycamore Drive, Dungannon.

Sport Changes Life mentored the 96 pupils through their own individual journeys, helping them to develop plans which suited their needs and abilities. It aimed to identify the potential within each pupil and channel positive energy in the right way.

Having completed the 10-week course, which covered topics such as Anti-bullying & Staying Safe Online, Health & Well-being and Goal Setting, all delivered through team sport activities, the pupils were able to celebrate their achievements with a special tour of the National Stadium at Windsor Park. To mark their achievement they were also presented with certificates to confirm their place on the Sports Changes Life Honour Roll.

The Sport Changes Life 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. £10m has been invested in the Cookstown and Dungannon shared housing developments and associated five-year Good Relations Plans.

Both Radius and Apex have shared housing developments across Northern Ireland. Good Relations Plan includes ‘Bridging’ events which are delivered to the wider community to encourage a range of good relations outcomes which include Health and Wellbeing, Education and Training.

Speaking at the celebratory event at the National Stadium, Geraldine Dougan, Communities Officer at Radius Housing, said “Children in Primary 7 are at an important point in life as they prepare to transfer from primary school to secondary school. This can be stressful and worrying for these young people, but there are ways to help them through this, such as learning and personal growth through sport. We are delighted to have been able to fund the roll out of the Sport Changes Life programme with these two schools, and we have seen how these children have grown in confidence over the roll out of the programme.”

Sharon Hunt, Good Relations Officer at Apex Housing, added “It was our pleasure to support the children from Dungannon and Cookstown to complete this 10-week programme and it has been wonderful to see their confidence grow.  Through sport, they have learned how to plan and strategise and they have strengthened their team working skills. Crucially, these Primary 7 children have also developed their interpersonal skills as they prepare to change schools in September. The reward of a special tour of the National Stadium in Belfast is a special treat they all earned.”

Ms Deeny from Holy Trinity Primary School in Cookstown said “It’s so important that we prepare each child for the change in schools, which is a very big deal for them at a young age. The Sport Changes Life programme has helped equip them for this, by teaching important life lessons through sport. We have been delighted to been able to benefit from the programme.”

Mr Young from Dungannon PS said “Over 10 weeks the children enthusiastically learned so much through sports related games and activity and have grown as young people in this time. The mixture of games and discussion with Big Mac and Jack was a great way for children to get prepared for secondary school along with getting fitter and learning new team games. I loved the kind, inclusive and caring approach taken by the leaders and they, along with the organisers, deserve special thanks. The children loved the visit to the National Stadium and the slap-up feed at the hotel at the end!"

Natalia from P7 said, "It was fun and gave me hope to go and play well and enjoy secondary school."




Further information:

Brendan Scott; MW Advocate

email: phone: 07834422923