Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has announced funding totalling £6 million for soccer and Gaelic games coaching in local primary schools.
Twenty four coaches from the Irish Football Association (IFA) and 32 Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) coaches currently deliver training for over 33,000 children in 551 primary schools across the north of Ireland. The new funding will see the programme sustained over the next four years.
Making the announcement, the Minister said, “I introduced the Primary Sports Programme in 2007 to help improve the health and wellbeing of our children and encourage them to embrace a healthy lifestyle from a young age.
“Getting involved with sport is an excellent way of achieving this. Both Gaelic games and soccer offer many opportunities for young girls and boys to have fun and keep healthy. Not only does such activity tackle and prevent obesity, but it also helps children focus and learn better during class time.
“I believe this is a vital aspect of growing up which is why my Department has to date made available around £5.2 million for the programme. The new funding of £1.5million per year will ensure that the IFA and GAA can continue this excellent work for four more years, ensuring that even more local children can improve their fundamental skills and keep active.
“The 32 GAA and 24 IFA coaches have made a huge contribution to the success of the programme and I pay tribute to them for their enthusiasm and commitment. The coaches have developed a range of fun and engaging mini-games based on their sports which capture the attention of children and embed in them a habit of playing sport, which can only help them as they grow up.”