Young Volunteers in NI Sports to gain major skills boost through leadership programme

Fund & Grant News

Young Volunteers in NI Sports to gain major skills boost through leadership programme

17 May 2021

A leadership training programme for young people in sport, supported by the David Cross Young People’s Fund, established in partnership with The Community Foundation and Department for Communities (DfC) was launched today (17th May) at Queen’s Playing Fields, as part of Philanthropy Fortnight 2021 (17-28 May).


The 12 month long ‘Inspiring Young Leaders Through Sport’ programme will be delivered in partnership through Ulster GAA, Ulster Rugby and Irish FA and will support 30 young volunteers (aged 17-25) from GAA, Rugby and Football clubs in Northern Ireland to develop their leadership skills and experience.  Participants can use these skills in their clubs and communities and to improve their employability and career prospects.


Dr Terry Cross OBE, Chair of the David Cross Foundation which established the Young People’s Fund explained:

“The fund recognises that we all face huge challenges to our way of life as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is particularly true of young people, many of whom will have seen their education interrupted at a key moment, their future plans derailed and their employment prospects damaged. To help address this the fund has made a small number of awards, worth up to £15,000 each, to organisations working with young people to enable them to meet these and other challenges.”


Síofra Healy, Director of Philanthropy at the Community Foundation which match funded the David Cross Young People’s Fund, commented:

“Great things are being achieved today through philanthropy in Northern Ireland, which simply wouldn’t happen without the generosity and involvement of local people. We witnessed this through the pandemic and during Philanthropy Fortnight we will celebrate and recognise the value of what has been achieved, highlighting the impact on local lives and what we do next.

“Working with the David Cross Foundation on the Young People’s Fund has allowed us to focus specifically on giving young people the skills that will support their volunteering and career development.  We’re delighted to work with the David Cross Foundation, the IFA, Ulster Rugby and the GAA to enable this important project, one of a number supported by the Young People’s Fund.”


Gavin Nelson, Club and Community Development Officer with the Irish FA Foundation, which is coordinating the programme said:

“As well as building leadership and people management skills, participants will work with volunteers from all three sports, fostering and promoting positive relationships.  Working at grass roots level will influence the future of these young people and we are hugely encouraged by the recognition and support from the David Cross Young People’s Fund and the Community Foundation.”


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