Podraig Slane (aged 11) of Glentoran Academy and Pierce Hanna (aged 10) from Cromac Sporting help Glentoran Football Club launch its new ‘Our Club, Our Community’ Programme which will deliver a range of initiatives that will reach out to all sections of the community. Also pictured is from left. Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Glentoran Football Club, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, Minister for Sport, Denis Rooney CBE, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, Jonathan Bell, OFMDFM Junior Minister and Councillor Maire Hendron, Belfast City Council Good Relations Partnership.
Glentoran Football Club has today officially launched its ‘Our Club, Our Community’ Programme. This programme is aimed at making a lasting difference to our local community.
The three year programme – funded by the International Fund for Ireland’s Community Bridges Programme and Belfast City Council’s Good Relations Partnership – aims to make a positive cultural, social and educational contribution through all facets of football.
Working in partnership with our local community the Programme will deliver a wide range of initiatives to help address issues such as intercommunity prejudice, social inclusion, education and training as well as health and crime prevention.
The programme will also work toward enhancing Glentoran’s long-standing affiliation with our local community and will help create an inclusive, family orientated atmosphere thereby promoting good relations in East Belfast.
Speaking at the launch, Denis Rooney CBE, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “Recent violence at the lower Newtownards Road interface is proof that there is still much work to be done if the underlying causes of sectarianism and violence are to be tackled and we are to build reconciliation between people and within and between communities throughout the island of Ireland.
“Glentoran Football Club can play a vital role in building positive community relations through its ‘Our Club, Our Community’ Programme for which the International Fund for Ireland was happy to provide funding from our Community Bridges Programme. The ‘Our Club, Our Community Programme’ will reach out to all sections of the community and create a Club which is inclusive of everyone irrespective of age, gender, race and religion.”
Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Glentoran Football Club said: “Glentoran Football Club has its roots strongly embedded in East Belfast and, as such, has a responsibility to take a leading role in our local community and to make a positive and sustained contribution thereby helping address real community need.
“Through this Programme we will actively work within our local community to deliver a range of initiatives that will reach out to all sections of our community in order to make a lasting and measurable difference to our society.”
Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, the Minister for Sport congratulated Glentoran for developing this initiative. She said: "It is a great honour for me to be invited here today to East Belfast to support Glentoran in launching its exciting new ‘Our Club, Our Community’ Programme’. The vision of the Programme is central to much of what my own Department is seeking to achieve through sport. The fact that this Programme has the backing of so many major partners is a huge testimony to the power and significance of sport in our community. It is a recognition also of the enormous contribution that sport can make – when used positively – to improving people’s lives, strengthening communities and healing division. It is an acknowledgement as well of Glentoran’s importance to East Belfast and its close identification with the communities in this area and further afield."
OFMDFM Junior Minister Jonathan Bell, MLA said: “I welcome any initiative that will bring about positive change and improve community cohesion and I believe that the influence of a club like Glentoran can really make a difference to ideas, attitiudes and values of the people of East Belfast. The future is about sharing and enjoying our sport, celebrating success and moving forward together. I wish you well with this Programme. “
Belfast Mayor, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, paid tribute to those involved in creating and delivering the Programme.
He said: "This is helping to make a really positive contribution to community relations and is a shining example of projects being carried out across our city that are making a real difference.”
The Glentoran ‘Our Club, Our Community’ Programme has implemented a range of projects within the local community since it commenced in November 2010. This includes a Stakeholder Workshop to introduce the Programme to key community representatives and commissioning independent consultants to conduct a Community Relations Audit to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the perception of Glentoran within the wider community.
A number of murals have also been created for the Oval’s Milk Bar & Family Stand as part of an art project to bring together key components of Glentoran and the local community.
The Programme has also rolled out the Glentoran ‘Match-Fit’ Fundamentals Pilot Project with eight local Primary Schools receiving free fundamentals coaching and an introductory healthy lifestyle workshop.