Children from across the political divide in Belfast are to get a sporting boost thanks to the charity Sport Relief.
PeacePlayers International has been awarded £98,560 over three years to help unite communities through sport.
The organisation uses the game of basketball to address sectarianism and foster mutual respect and tolerance by enabling Catholic and Protestant children, aged 10-14, to play the game together.
By creating an environment of respect and understanding the project helps them to see each other’s communities in a more positive light, bridging divides and improving the situation for future generations.
Since August 2002, PeacePlayers has coached 17,000 Catholic and Protestant children in an integrated setting.
Meanwhile, the University of Ulster’s successful Sports Outreach programme has secured £4,500 from the charity, to deliver a six-week healthy lifestyle physical activity programme in primary schools in areas of social disadvantage.
The initiative, which will run from Easter, will be delivered by University of Ulster students, providing valuable experience for both students and pupils.
Richard Gormley, Ulster Sports Outreach Unit manager, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the Outreach Unit to involve even more schools in our programme through this exciting new initiative.
“Emma O’Brien, who is the Ulster Sports Outreach programme coordinator, came up with an excellent programme proposal and we are delighted this resulted in a successful application to Sports Relief.
“The funding we have received ensures that the programme can be delivered throughout Northern Ireland and engage many primary school children.”
In addition to physical activity sessions, pupils will be engaged in community assemblies aimed at tackling pertinent social issues, which the primary schools have deemed necessary to address, such as bullying, anti-social behaviour or even nutrition education.
The Sport Relief awards are funded by Comic Relief and provide opportunities for young people to bring communities together, to help promote understanding and solve problems through sport, arts and recreational activities.
This year’s Sport Relief takes place from Friday, March 19, to Sunday, March 21.
For general information on funding you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For schools interested in taking part in Sport Relief email email@example.com.