A strategy launched today will deliver its vision of a lifelong involvement in sport and physical activity, delivering an active, healthy, resilient and inclusive society which recognises and values both participation and excellence, says Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey.
‘Active Living,’ the new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy was launched at an event in Stormont where 240 primary school children got the opportunity to try out a range of activities including Boccia, GAA sports, Hockey, Cricket, Rugby, Football, Orienteering, Climbing, Skateboarding and Boxing.
At the event guests heard Olympians Paddy Barnes (Boxing) and Shirley McCay (Hockey) and Paralympian Claire Taggart (Boccia) discuss with Professor Marie Murphy (UUJ) the importance of physical activity and sport and how it influenced them as they grew up, how they developed their talents and the experiences they have had while competing at the highest levels.
The Minister said:
“The strategy aims to get more people, more active, more of the time. That must begin with children having access to more opportunities, exposure to different sports and making sure that they have fun and enjoy a quality experience.”
“There is a need to have a focus on not just competitive sport but on our communities, where everyone, regardless of ability or gender has the opportunity to be physically active and potentially competitively successful.”
‘Active Living’ was developed through engagement with over 200 groups and was refined following a full public consultation. Using a co-design approach, it has taken over four years of research, sectoral engagement, community engagement and consultation.
The Minister concluded:
“I want this strategy to bring about change, to challenge the normal approach by removing barriers to inclusion. I want it to drive participation rates upwards by increasing opportunities for as many people as possible to take part in sport and physical activity.
“Our clear and simple aim for the future of sport and physical activity is to get more people, more active, more of the time.”
Click here to view the strategy document.