‘A Sporting Chance – Evaluation of the Promoting Equality, Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion through Sport’ (Deloitte, 2014), has provided a detailed account of the impact this programme has made in using sport to address and deliver on key issues around equality, poverty and social exclusion across the Province.
The three Associations have delivered a wide range of innovative and valuable programmes in support of the Department’s key objectives in terms of addressing social exclusion in communities.
The Irish FA’s involvement in the programme has included provision for addressing physical and mental health inequalities, support for disability football, engagement with socially marginalised groups, club and community development, and using football for education and enterprise purposes.
Ulster GAA successfully delivered across a series of programmes which included the provision of coaching and equipment to areas of high need, an unemployment scheme, provision for disability games including summer camps and wheelchair hurling and health programmes which addressed mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
The IRFU (Ulster Branch) has focussed on participation growth in non-traditional rugby areas, with over 19,500 people engaged in rugby programmes for the first time. This has contributed to the establishment of 18 new female teams and four disability teams. Another key aspect of the programme was a community gym initiative, which saw gym equipment installed at 13 venues in areas of deprivation.
The Irish FA, Ulster GAA and IRFU (Ulster Branch) have collectively welcomed the findings and recommendations, which demonstrate clear value and impact of the programme to date, and the strategic importance of sustaining the support for future delivery in these areas.
Carál Ní Chuilín, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure said: “The Evaluation Report being launched today assesses the success and the overall impact of the programme to date. I am extremely proud that DCAL was able to fund this excellent programme, which created many opportunities to deliver social change. It will create an outstanding legacy for many of the people involved.
“I would like to congratulate the IFA, Ulster Rugby and the Ulster GAA for their major contribution to the successful delivery of this programme and acknowledge that the relations between these three sports are stronger than ever.”