Youth sports west
Youth Sport West is a cross-border project co-ordinated by two Sports Development Officers in the areas of Sligo and Omagh. The overall aim of the project is to provide extra-curricular sports activities and opportunities to children in primary schools linking to junior classes in secondary schools up to first and second year pupils. Central to the operation was the recruitment of sixteen school sport co-ordinators (8 in each region) at second level. Their function is to help co-ordinate and develop quality, extra-curricular sports programmes (evenings and weekends) in a total of 80 feeder primary schools. Through this work the project strives to create an environment in which every young person can be encouraged and enabled to derive benefit from participation in sporting activities.
The programme is funded through the Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (E.U.), the Irish Sports Council (ISC), Sports Council for Northern Ireland (SCNI), relevant government departments and other agencies. Youth Sport West is a joint initiative involving County Sligo Vocational Education Committee (VEC) and the Western Education and Library Board (WELB), and the scheme represents a working partnership at various levels. A joint inter-agency management (north/south) committee was established to oversee the project with representation from the Irish Sports Council, Sports Council for Northern Ireland, Sligo Vocational Education Committee, Western Education & Library Board, Fermanagh and Omagh District Councils, Sligo Borough Council, Sligo County Council, North Western Health Board (NWHB) and Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership (SSRP). This management committee meets on a quarterly basis, which allows partners to guide the planning, development and financial aspects of the programme. Youth Sport West through the various activities it carries out, provides the opportunity for training, coaching, sports days and festivals on a cross-border basis and supported by the relevant partners. The project further displays partnerships in action through establishing contacts with a network of statutory and voluntary organisations and services.
Additional links have been established and developed nationally through the Governing Bodies of Sport and locally with sports clubs (north/south), education centres, local sports development officers, schools (primary & secondary), youth clubs and various facility providers. The partnership approach has led to greater co-ordination and cohesiveness in the development of sport and has allowed education sponsored projects (Sport for All/Youth Sport) and health-sponsored projects (Action for Life/Go for Life) to be presented in a complementary manner to specific target groups and organisations.
Furthermore, through support and assistance from the Irish Sports Council, Sligo has been designated a pilot site for the establishment of a Local Sports Partnership (LSP) with the success of Youth Sport West instrumental in helping achieve this status. The Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership has been established to co-ordinate and promote the development of sport and recreation within the county. Youth Sport West has been adopted by the Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership as one of its key programmes in delivering sport to young people. The Partnership offers great potential to enhance and develop new links with partners at all levels and also offers the potential to promote and develop further projects and initiatives.
This project is funded under the EU programme for Peace and Reconciliation and administered by the Special EU Programmes Body.