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Ruane hails success of multi-million pound sports programme

25 March, 2010 - by Caitríona Ruane

Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has hailed the success of a multi-million pound sports initiative in improving the health and wellbeing of local children.

Over 33,000 children in almost 600 primary schools across the north participate in the initiative, which delivers a range of fun and educational physical games and activities.

The Department has made £3.7million available for the programme since it began in 2007, with £1.5million allocated in the current financial year. This has funded the involvement of over 60 coaches from the Irish Football Association (IFA) and Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).

Speaking as she attended a special event at the QUB Physical Education Centre to celebrate the success of the sports initiative, the Minister said: “Training exercises based on lifelong sports, like Gaelic games and soccer, are excellent ways in which to achieve improved physical literacy and develop fundamental skills. I would like to thank both the GAA and IFA for their support and hard work in helping deliver a range of fun and interesting activities to so many local young people.

“Schools have an important role to play in encouraging healthy lifestyles in our young people. By engaging in sports and other physical activity, children can combat and prevent obesity whilst improving their overall health and wellbeing.

“Not only does this have obvious physical benefits, but activity of this kind builds confidence and self-esteem in young people and boosts their concentration levels and motivation to learn. This in turn contributes to them achieving to their full potential, and the feedback from participating schools has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The Minister added: “The scheme also provides training to teachers to help them in the delivery of PE classes and in nurturing a culture of physical wellbeing amongst pupils.”

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