Local schools ‘skate for peace’

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Saturday, May 4th, 2013
Students from St Ronan’s Primary School and Windsor Hill Primary School are pictured (right) on the final day of their 10 week inline hockey Skating Together Advancing Relations programme (S.T.A.R).

The S.T.A.R. Programme is a new initiative run by Love Hockey Ireland, which uses the sport of Inline Hockey as a vehicle for integrating communities and developing Good Relations.

This project has been managed by the PEACE III Southern Partnership’s Strategic Grants priority and supported by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (PEACE III) managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. 

25 children from each school came together over a 10 week programme. During the first week the 50 students were assigned into two mixed teams “Red & Yellow”.

For the next 10 weeks, the children took part in a mixture of off court workshops themed around challenging perceptions, sectarianism, racism and developing teamwork skills. This was complemented with on court sessions where the children were trained by the Love Hockey Ireland coaches on how to play Inline Roller Hockey.

By week 10 both teams had developed strong relationships and found unity under their chosen team names (”Red LOL’S of Newry” and “Notorious Newry Nightmares”)

The new friendships and team spirit developed over the 10 weeks was visible on the final day when both teams took part in an intensely competitive game of Inline roller hockey between both teams.

Following the game all 50 students took part in the traditional roller hockey team hand shake and all the smiling faces and laughs clearly demonstrated how the 10 week programme had positively impacted on each participant.

Both schools will now attend a final celebration event due to be held in Craigavon Leisure centre on Monday 13th May where they will be joined by the other 150 students from 6 schools who attended the same course in the localities of Banbridge, Armagh and Craigavon.

Love Hockey Ireland’s S.T.A.R. programme is now advancing into the Youth section where they will engage with youth groups across the whole southern cluster area. The final part of the programme will see Love Hockey Ireland run a 10 week ethnic minority community programme.

Any groups interested in taking part in this fully funded programme are encouraged to contact the project coordinator Stephen Lynch immediately on 07779297414 as there are only a couple of places left. Otherwise please visit www.lovehockeyireland.com for more information.

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