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Cross border funded sports programme aims to help more young people fulfil their potential

21 February 2019

A joint funded cross border sports programme aimed at helping athletes from the North West region to successfully progress from grass roots level in their chosen sport was officially launched today by the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle.

The North West Sporting Pathways programme is funded by the North West Development Fund in partnership with and supported by The Executive Office and The Irish Government.

The NW Development Fund supports key growth priorities of the North West City region, one of which is to support young people and skills development.

The programme will be delivered in joint partnership by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council and the Donegal Sports Partnership, to progress the development of coaches across the North West region.

The projects aim is to increase participation rates in grassroots sport and create North West regional talent squads to support the development of local emerging talented athletes.

Speaking at the official launch at the Melvin Sports Complex, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Boyle said he was confident the programme could help more young athletes to fulfil their potential in their chosen discipline.

“I am delighted to launch this exciting new project which will enhance the standard of coaching on offer locally, increase participation numbers in grass roots sport and create more opportunities for athletes to progress in their chosen sport.

“The North West region has a long tradition of excellence and high participation on a wide range of sports. The new structures proposed in this programme will really help our young people to reach their potential by creating more education and training opportunities for coaches and regional talent squads that will allow club level sports people to take their game to the next level.”

An Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr. O’Domhnaill welcomed the cross border element of the programme and said he was supportive of how Sporting Pathways programme is designed to complement the work being done to promote new training techniques and widening the options for players to reach their potential.

“I am delighted to be part of this project launch and to see at first-hand how we can work in collaboration to increase participation in sport which will in turn bring about positive change in health and well-being across the North West. This project is funded through the NW Development Fund and is another example of how both Councils are working with Government departments on both sides of the border to collectively resource the regions key priorities including the delivery of measures to support social and community cohesion and wellbeing.” 

Coordinator of Donegal Sports Partnership Myles Sweeney welcomed the investment in sport highlighting the importance of regional sports development and partnership in raising the profile of minority sports across the North West of Ireland.

Chair of the North West Regional Development Group, Councillor Gus Hastings, added: “The North West Sporting Pathways programme is a further positive collaboration through the NWRDG and the NW Strategic Growth Partnership that can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the public in both Council areas.

“The programme will create new pathways for young people in their chosen sport by organising coaching and development structures on a cross border basis and pooling our resources to give participants the best possible chance of progressing.”

As part of the launch showcase event, children aged between six and 12 who are taking part in a Multi-Sport Camp had the opportunity to participate in multiple sports and activities that will improve skills development through play and games.

The North West Coaching Conference in the Melvin Sports Complex was jointly hosted by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council and Donegal Sports Partnership and featured speakers and facilitators involved in supporting coaches’ learning and development.