PRESS RELEASE 03/03/2020 Click here to download PRESS RELEASE
Football Makes Our Shared History receives Lottery boost
ORGANISERS of a unique sports heritage initiative have brought together Northern Ireland’s Football Association, Gaelic Athletic Association, Ulster Rugby, Ulster Hockey, Peace Players and many more children’s sports to celebrate the province’s shared history.
The National Children’s Football Alliance (NCFA) has been awarded a £67,000 grant from The National Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards its Football Makes Our Shared History (FMOSH) project, which will culminate in an exhibition of children’s research on how sports contribute to our shared history and the creation of peace pitches by twinning designated areas of play with Flanders Peace Field in Belgium, site of the First World War Christmas Truces in 1914.
Thanks to the Lottery grant, people of all ages across Northern Ireland, including schoolchildren, will research the impact of sport on local communities and how it has helped to shape a contemporary society.
FMOSH will be launched at Queen’s University Belfast on Thursday, February 17.
Karl Oakes, head of sport at Queen’s, said: “We’re delighted that funding has been made available to enable people in Northern Ireland to learn more about how about sport has contributed to their shared history.
“Over the last 50 years across our indoor and outdoor facilities and through sport development programmes, we’ve seen that sport is a fantastic way of bringing students from different backgrounds together. Our current students have a choice of more than 50 sports clubs to join with participation and performance sporting opportunities.
“If we needed a reminder of the benefits that sport gives us in terms of health and wellbeing, social interaction and uniting communities, the pandemic has certainly given us that.”
All research and oral histories collated during the project will be included on the National Children’s Football Alliance website: http://www.childrensfootballalliance.com/football-and-peace/ and a short documentary film will be screened at QUB later this year.
NCFA chair Brendan Hanlon said: “We’re thrilled to be given this opportunity and grateful to National Heritage Lottery Fund for their support. This project will enable young people to learn more about how their local communities and the value of sport bring us together. “
NCFA projects director, Paul Cooper added: “FMOSH is the essence of play. We are delighted that NI’s great sporting associations value community games of all disciplines. We look forward to seeing the children’s work and how they connect to their games with grandparents, relatives and friends. This is about the historic nature of play and how it continues to shape our landscape.”
Chris Wright, Irish FA Foundation community relations officer, said: “Our work is centred around Football for All and we are pleased to support such an inclusive project as FMOSH.”
Brian McAvoy, CEO of Ulster Gaelic Athletic Association, said: “‘We place a great emphasis on outreach and using sport to bring people together from different social, religious and ethnic backgrounds. We look forward to supporting this project.”
Chris Webster, Ulster Rugby’s head of rugby development, said: “We look forward to celebrating how rugby brings us together.”
FMOSH will leave a legacy in each of the six counties. One of the project’s aims is to have a peace pitch in each county twinned with Flanders Peace Field.
On April 24, 2018, the first peace pitch in Northern Ireland was unveiled. The George Best Peace Pitch is located on Cregagh Green, Belfast, where Best fell in love with the game. There are also peace pitches at: Enniskillen Royal Grammar School, Co Fermanagh (rugby pitch), Ashfield Girls School, Belfast (netball pitch) and North Coast Integrated College, Coleraine, Co Londonderry (football pitch).
Schools, clubs, groups and teams are invited to take part in Football Makes Our Shared History. To find out more, please visit www.childrensfootballalliance.com
Notes to editors
The National Children’s Football Alliance was established in 2008 to enhance children’s development through play. The NCFA seek to protect childhood through play.