The International Fund for Ireland and Leitrim County Council funded Goal for Peace Project recently held its final paired coaching session of 2012.
The session which took place in the Bee Park in Manorhamilton was the last of 32 paired sessions held during the course a busy year for the project. The Goal for Peace project aims to integrate almost 180 children from primarily Catholic and Protestant backgrounds through the medium of soccer and provides a unique opportunity for integration and relationship building long into the future.
The project has two core strands – a school involvement strand and a club involvement strand. As part of the school involvement strand, the children from eight schools in Leitrim participate in ongoing paired sessions throughout the school year. The sessions led by FAI Coach Damon Kearney involve the children from the paired schools coming together to take part in a variety of team games to suit all levels of ability. These sessions help children from different backgrounds to interact and mix with each other in a fun setting.
The three predominantly Protestant schools in Leitrim – the Hunt NS, Masterson NS and Newtowngore NS have been paired with predominately Catholic schools in their locality, Gortletteragh NS, Kiltyclogher NS and St Mary’s Drumlea. The Marist NS and St Mary’s Boys NS from Carrick-on-Shannon have a wide variety of ethnicities and nationalities and they are also paired together on the project. Two Fermanagh schools joined the project last year, St Columban’s, Belcoo and Belleek Controlled Primary School.
The project has also organised a number of group events over the duration of the year where all ten schools come together. The group events included a trip to Zip-it in Lough Key Forest Park in March, a social inclusion workshop and football coaching from Arsenal in the Community Coaches in May, a cycling sports day in June and a trip to Strokestown Park House in October.
As part of the club involvement strand, a series of cross border friendly games took place, involving the three senior Leitrim soccer teams playing matches with teams from Fermanagh & Tyrone.
Goal for Peace Project Co Coordinator Gordon Burke said “We are delighted with the progress of the project during 2012. We are looking forward to 2013 which we hope will be an exciting year for the schools and clubs involved.”