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Fun and fitness Fridays

Published: Fri, 6 Jun 2014
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Harmony Hill vs YMCA Lurgan - part of the Friday project
Harmony Hill fitness Friday
Fridays are all about fun and fitness for young people living in the Lambeg area of Lisburn taking part in Harmony Hill Community Group’s Friday project.
Since the middle of February, thanks to a community grant awarded by the Housing Executive, approximately 80 young people have been meeting each Friday at the Lisburn Leisureplex to get to know one another as they play soccer or take part in swimming.
We awarded £1,300 to he Community Group to support their use of sport with young people to enhance community relations in the Lambeg area. Recently the group hosted a cross community soccer tournament involving teams from Lurgan and Glenavy.  YMCA Lurgan triumphed on the evening and all enjoyed the opportunity to participate as they got to know one another in the relaxed environment.
The community relations project is being run by a group of dedicated local volunteers who became concerned with incidents of antisocial behaviour which began in 2012 and which had the potential to raise sectarian tensions.  Along with the Housing Executive, they enlisted the support of Lisburn City Council and Lisburn City’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) to deliver the project.
Speaking on behalf of Harmony Hill Community Group, the project lead Mark Ballard, said:
"The Friday project has been a great way of developing relationships with the young people and engaging with neighbouring communities through sport.
“We’re delighted with the support we’ve received from the Housing Executive, the City Council and PCSP.  To date some 80 young people have been involved in our fun filled Fridays.  We’re already seeing a change in attitude as they get to know one another in this relaxed setting.  It bodes well for the future.”
Paul Gibson, whose two sons Luke and Josh participated in the programme, said:
“It has been great having a programme like this that has provided my sons with the opportunity to play a sport that they love and develop their skills on the football pitch. More importantly it has given them the opportunity to get to know other young people from different communities and develop friendships across the city and beyond."
Aengus Hannaway, our Area Manager, is delighted with the project commenting:
“When the committee read the application we knew it would be worthwhile to invest in this community’s project.  At the heart of the Housing Executive’s work is helping to support local communities to create a safe space where people can live with others, regardless of their religion or race.  This initiative is going some way to help make our aspiration a reality.”