Ballymoney in County Antrim may be one of the more disadvantaged boroughs in Northern Ireland, but the Ballymoney Community Sports Project made it one of the most active, with funding from The National Lottery.
As well as promoting healthy lifestyles, the scheme also opened up opportunities for local people to become trained coaches. Funding from The National Lottery helped the council to employ a full-time community sports development officer. His knowledge of local people and communities and his passion for sports really made the scheme a success.
In three years, the project oversaw around 100 courses throughout the borough, open to people of all ages and abilities. Activities included netball, football, indoor bowling, spin-cycling, horseshoe-throwing, dancing and armchair aerobics. What’s more, 180 local people trained as coaches through the scheme’s volunteer development programme. Many of these volunteers gained qualifications and worked as paid coaches within the scheme. The council wanted to use the programme to reach out to young people and tackle anti-social behaviour. One course with this aim was the ‘midnight soccer’ programme, which provided an alternative for young people hanging about on the streets in the evening.
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