Cross-community partnership success

Young people from St Enda's GAC and Ophir RFC who participated in a joint residential focussing on good relations and sport. INNT 10-501CON
Young people from St Enda's GAC and Ophir RFC who participated in a joint residential focussing on good relations and sport. INNT 10-501CON

THE ORNE Community Partnership is a joint venture between two leading local sports clubs - Ophir RFC in Mallusk and St Enda’s GAC (Naomh Éanna) 
in Glengormley.

The aim of the partnership is to deliver the ‘Beyond Sport Project’, which seeks to build a genuine, long lasting cross-community partnership. It’s hoped that a series of planned activities will lead to the building of positive relationships between stakeholders from both communities, including club members, local families, individuals and schools.

The partnership’s work commenced late last year, and the series of programmes is already proving successful.

A Halloween environmental programme, a history course based on the First World War era and a Christmas play and pantomime trip are just some of the initiatives that have proven popular.

Young people from the two clubs’ youth teams have also enjoyed joint residentials focusing on good 
relations and sport. They participated in a session provided by Concept 
Eleven aimed at enabling them to get to know each other and to begin to 
question the assumptions we make about each other in Northern Ireland. The young people also participated in joint Gaelic football and rugby classes provided by top coaches from 
Break for Ball before playing a ‘game of two halves’.

The residentials, made possible thanks to funding from Newtownabbey Borough Council and the Rural Development Council, were topped off with a series of team building activities.

The future looks just as busy for ORNE. A new women’s course commenced recently with a trip to see the ‘Normal Objects Transformed by the Conflict’ exhibition in Healing Through Remembering’s offices in Belfast, and will continue with a series of workshops focusing on the impact of the Troubles on the normal lives of women.

The history course will return on a ‘men only’ basis from the end of April, and some spaces are still available.

A schools’ engagement programme will see local schools being provided with the opportunity to run a series of joint 
rugby and Gaelic football classes for their P6s and P7s, followed by a fun day 
for the participating pupils. Summer schemes will enable local families to avail of sports classes during the summer holidays and environmental programmes will give families the opportunity to learn more about the natural world around them.

A series of programmes for young people will see the strengthening of relationships between members of both clubs, and active community projects developed by the young people will take place throughout the Newtownabbey.

Anyone who would like to learn more about the ORNE Community Partnership and upcoming events/projects should contact Cathy Hall, Good Relations Project Officer, at the Barron Hall, Glengormley. Telephone 028 9084 9314 or email