Community Resilience

Irish Football Association Foundation

The Irish FA Foundation’s main activity is the development of football for all throughout Northern Ireland. Through organised programmes it engages as many people as possible in physical activity, education and social awareness.

Background

The Foundation provides funds, assistance in the organisation and provision of facilities which enables and encourages everyone to participate in physical recreation and football concentrating on grassroots participation. It advances the health and wellbeing of local people by leading on the development of a Northern Ireland-wide football and positive mental health campaign and a veteran’s football plan for women and men.

What Irish FA Foundation did

The Irish FA Foundation has developed the Stay Onside programme in partnership with the PSNI to engage and upskill current or former prolific offenders, using football as a hook to deter them from offending. The programme offers a Level 1 Coaching Award, mental health advice, coach placements and volunteer placements.

The Foundation’s Stadium Community Benefits Initiatives aims to maximise the potential of the new football stadium at Windsor Park to deliver social benefits to the local community. The Foundation’s GOALS Programme, aimed at young people who are NEET will use the Stadium to help provide a pathway to employment opportunities/

The Foundation has produced a network of mental health champions who work together to promote mental wellbeing through a series of partnerships and workshops.

The Irish FA provides employability skills and development opportunities for its volunteers.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • The Stay Onside programme has had a positive and long-lasting effect on participants – its helped their personal development, reduced the levels of repeat offending and opened up employment opportunities
  • Paid coaching roles within the community or semi-professional clubs for numerous participants in the Stay Onside programme; along with increased self-esteem and skills
  • Reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour
  • 24% reduction in positive drugs tests amongst participants during the programme

For more information, please email: Keith.gibson@irishfa.com