On 8 December 2015, Ulster Rugby, the Irish Football Association and Ulster GAA launched the Sport Uniting Communities Strategic Framework (Deloitte, 2015) at Stormont Hotel.
The three governing bodies of sport have been working closely together on a number of programmes over the past five years; ‘Sport in the Community’ Project, Stadia redevelopment, ‘Promoting Equality, Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion through Sport’ Programme and the Game of Three Halves.
The multisport partnership has recognised the collective objectives across areas such as community development, good relations, club and volunteer development, capacity building, and acknowledges the strategic value and impact of working together. Moving forward, there is a strong willingness among the three Associations to build on the experience gained and significant progress made.
The strategic framework sets out the nature of the collaborative partnership, ability to reach further and connect more communities, deliver meaningful outcomes and work with central and local government and Europe to deliver policy priorities. DCAL Deputy Secretary Cynthia Smith, who represented the Department at the launch, said; “There is growing evidence of the power of sport to bring people together. The latest Household survey has revealed that over 91% of the population of the north actively engage in culture, arts or leisure. I doubt if any other part of government has such as direct impact on people’s lives.
“The sports of Rugby, Soccer and the GAA have used their pivotal role within their communities to increase participation levels and to foster a sense of social inclusion. These three organisations are well placed to help deliver of the key Executive priorities of growing the economy and tackling disadvantage.
“I welcome the commitment and desire of these three sporting organisations to build on the great work they have done to date and use their collective synergies to make a telling impact on the opportunities offered across government and by other stakeholders.”
The three Chief Executives noted their commitment to further strengthening the partnership and developing our joint work, particularly in the fields of social inclusion, education, health and community development.
Irish FA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson said: “The partnership between the governing bodies has evolved and matured in recent years. We have collaborated across a number of programmes which have huge strategic value and impact, whilst remaining committed to our own organisational goals. We look forward to further strengthening this delivery partnership in years to come.”
Dr. Danny Murphy CEO of Ulster GAA said: “The launch of this joint strategic framework represents a significant milestone in the relationship between ourselves, Ulster Rugby and the Irish FA. The process has allowed us to reflect on some excellent work to date and to look forward with enthusiasm at our collective potential to make a major difference in communities across Ulster.”
Ulster Rugby Chief Executive Shane Logan said: “The multi-sport partnership is as strong as it’s ever been. The launch of the Sport Uniting Communities Framework demonstrates the commitment of Ulster Rugby, the Irish FA and Ulster GAA towards sustaining and growing this joint work and serving the community through sport. Moving forward, we are delighted to lead on a shared future and celebrate diversity through our work.”