The Electric Ireland Shooting Stars programme in partnership with the Irish FA Foundation is returning to Lisburn for another year.
Shooting Stars, which provides opportunities for girls aged 4-11 to have fun, make friends and learn the fundamentals of football, is back at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex from next Monday (4-5pm).
To mark its return a Shooting Stars Festival Day was staged at the LeisurePlex today (17 January). More than 100 children from five schools in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area took part. The schools represented were: Old Warren PS, Friends School Prep, Wallace High Prep, St Joseph’s Carryduff and Harmony Hill PS.
The event was jointly hosted by the foundation and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.
Anne Smyth, Electric Ireland Sponsorship Lead, said: “We are delighted that the Electric Ireland Shooting Stars programme is returning to Lisburn and what better way to kick things off than with a launch day for local schools to come and enjoy a fun-filled session.
“Our aim is to continue to inspire the next generation of female footballers and support the Irish FA’s ambitious outreach to get more girls and women playing football.”
The chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Leisure & Community Development Committee, Alderman James Tinsley, said: “On behalf of the council I am extremely delighted to once again support this hugely popular initiative which provides opportunities for girls to learn through play and make new friends while developing their football skills.
“Whether you want to play for fun or you dream of being the next big football superstar, the IFA's Shooting Stars football programme provides the perfect platform to help girls believe and achieve their goals.
“The council look forward to continuing their partnership with the Irish FA to ensure that initiatives and programmes are available that encourage physical activity participation.”
The Irish FA Foundation now has 17 Shooting Stars centres across Northern Ireland. The centres are seen as a starting point for young girls who are encouraged to take the next step and join a local football club, helping them move along the player pathway.
Last year the Lisburn centre attracted around 500 participants and the organisers are confident they will increase that number in 2020.
Brendan Lynch, Irish FA Girls’ Participation Officer, said: “We have seen the impact that the Electric Ireland Shooting Stars programme has had on the previous participants, increasing their confidence and self-esteem along with their social skills and we are keen to keep expanding the programme and encouraging many more young girls to attend.”
For more information, including times and fees for all the courses across Northern Ireland, visit www.irishfa.com/shootingstars.