Paralympic champion and world record holder Michael McKillop has launched a new initiative to support better community relations through sport.
The ‘Stick At It’ project brings together members of Antrim Men’s Hockey Club, Parkview Hockey Club, Mossley Ladies’ Hockey Club, Tir Na Nog GAC and St Comgall’s GAC, who will participate in different activities and workshops designed to promote better relations between different communities. The initiative builds on a very successful previous project that worked with young women to promote peace and reconciliation through sport.
Speaking at the launch McKillop recounted experiences of being a champion sportsman and the role of sport in bringing about positive change in communities.
Over the coming months participants will visit the Ulster Club Final at Casement Park, the showcase hockey final, the Kirk Cup, as well as coaching sessions. A tournament will be held at the end of the programme where mixed teams and matches will be played in each sport, with a number of teams from across the border also invited to play. The Ulster Hockey Union and Ulster Camogie Council both hope that the competition will become an annual event.
CAN Peace III Partnership chairperson, councillor Noreen McClelland, said: “Stick at It will be an innovative programme but it will also be challenging. As adults, we don’t often have the chance to try new things and meet new people, and in fact it can be difficult to do so. I applaud the positive attitude of all the clubs involved in this programme which for me is summed up in the title of the project Stick at It.”
Marietta Lammey, chairperson of Ulster Hockey, said: “This new project focuses primarily on adults and we are excited that it is developing new relationships between sports clubs and people from different community backgrounds as well as building on the strong relationship between Ulster Hockey and Ulster Camogie. That both governing bodies are continuing to work together is testament to the relationships that can be established through programmes such as Play Fair.”
The project has the backing of the Ulster Hockey Union and Ulster Camogie Council and is part of the Play Fair Programme and is part financed by the EU’s PEACE III Programme managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the CAN (Carrickfergus, Antrim and Newtownabbey) PEACE III Partnership.