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Sport in the community tops conference agenda

10 Jan 2019
Belfast sports clubs will be getting lessons from Germany when midfielder Michael Arends, from SV Werder Bremen gives the keynote speech at the ‘Sport in the Community’ Conference at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on Wednesday, 30 January.

Hosted by the Stadium Community Benefits Initiative the conference is open to all Belfast sports clubs to learn about sports-related topics and campaigns.

Arends will be discussing how his club is leading the way in Social Responsibility programmes having successfully integrated the delivery of diverse initiatives including disability and environmental programmes in their community.

This will be followed by a series of workshops, including Mental Health in Sport led by former Manchester United and NI international, Pat McGibbon. He founded the ‘Train to be Smart’ charity in memory of his brother Phillip, who took his own life and will share his vision around the role of sport in promoting health and wellbeing and reducing the stigma around mental health.

Delegates will also learn about the new 20x20 Women in Sport campaign which aims to boost female involvement in sport by 20 per cent by the year 2020 under the pillars of participation, attendance and media coverage. The Northern Ireland Sports Forum will facilitate this session and share ideas of how community clubs can get involved.

Finally Alan Nixon will share best practice in coach development, the investment of mentor support to newly qualified coaches, as well supporting clubs to enhance their capability and sustainability.

Councillor Kate Nicholl, Chair of the People and Communities Committee, said: “Belfast City Council is working in partnership with the Department for Communities and the Irish Football Association to ensure that long-term benefits for the whole community follow the building of the National Football Stadium at Windsor.

“This was a large scale public investment and we want to ensure that current and future generation continue to benefit from that investment.

“This month’s Sports Conference is a chance for sports  clubs across the city to come together to tackle issues common to all of them, it doesn’t matter what discipline they represent, the conference is open to all of Belfast’s clubs.

“It is issues like mental health in sport, getting more females involved and how to attract more media coverage of their participation, as well as the importance of coach development.

“These issues are relevant to all sports clubs so I would urge as many as possible to sign up for the conference,” added the councillor.

The Director of Football Development at the Irish FA, Michael Boyd, said: “With our partners at Belfast City Council and Department for Communities we are pleased to invite sports clubs from across the city to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park to take part in this conference.

“I have no doubt that it be hugely beneficial to clubs large and small and that there will be learnings for officials and volunteers from every sporting code.

“The Irish FA is proud to be a partner in the Stadium Community Benefits Initiative and is committed to maximising the use of the new National Football Stadium at Windsor Park to deliver social benefits,” he said.

Each club can register up to three people for the sports conference by visiting our website

The sports conference takes place at the National Stadium at Windsor Park between 6.30pm -9.30pm on Wednesday, 30 January.