The Odyssey Arena was the venue of the meeting of the EU Social Inclusion of Migrant Youth Through Sport Forum. The Forum facilitated by University of Ulster feeds into the larger EU programme tasked with looking at best practise models of promoting social inclusion of migrant youth through sport across Europe.
Those presenting included: Shane McCullough a lecturer in sports development with the University of Ulster and Associate Head of Ulster Sports Academy, and vast experience with the IFA; Paul Kitchin a lecturer in sports policy and marketing in the University of Ulster; and Trevor Ringland involved with the Game of Three Halves, and One Small Step Programme.
Sport Against Racism Ireland, the I.F.A, and World United were in attendance to share their experiences. Tony Watene GAA National Inclusion Officer, and representative of the four GAA provincial councils provided valuable insight into the various initiatives the GAA are involved with across the country. It was evident through the forum that much great work is being done by the GAA, and events like this will help progress these initiatives further. Greater collaboration between stakeholders will result from involvement in the Forum.
The meeting of minds of those involved in promoting social inclusion through sport was valuable in sharing knowledge and experience across a range of settings: between the urban and rural settings; between governing bodies of sport and charities; between those tasked with sports delivery and those tasked with providing sports development training; between those working with long-stay ethnic minorities, and those working with migrants literally at the point of entry into this country. The vast plethora of situations in which ethnic minorities live in our country must form the basis of the sports delivery programmes being offered by the various sports providers. Lengthy discussions took place about some of the successful and not so successful initiatives undertaken by those present. The forum is being repeated across Europe with examples and issues raised in Belfast feeding-into a collective European framework. The network will meet again in several months to progress issues discussed.