Suffolk and Lenadoon score again with soccer
Published: Wed, 18 Feb 2015
The Suffolk and Lenadoon Interface Group hosted a soccer tournament for children living at interface areas in Belfast yesterday.
Partly funded by us, the Interface Soccer Sevens tournament was specifically for children under 16 years of age, with the main aim of the event being to engage young people and sustain positive relationships at interface areas across the city. This year saw the competition’s sixth successful outing, with over 130 participants competing in a ‘round robin’ competition before entering knockout stages to decide the overall winner for each age category.
Soccer is widely recognised as a universal ‘language’ that can be used with great effect to communicate a message. As well as taking part in the soccer tournament, each participant also attended Good Relations Workshops on the day, focusing on ‘similarities and differences’. The workshops highlighted changing attitudes and behavior relating to sectarian and racism issues. Other areas of focus looked at dispelling myths, challenging stereotypes and prejudices, and fostering new relationships and mutual understanding between traditions.
The Interface Soccer Sevens tournament took place at Seaview football grounds, Shore Road, Belfast, from 10.00 am on Tuesday, 17 February. A high level of football was anticipated this year’s event, and spectators were not disappointed. The children taking part played with great skill, and the workshops were a great success, going a long way towards building friendships across the City.
Pictured above: Winners of the under 16s tournament from the Ardoyne area of Belfast, with Gerry Flynn, our Director of Landlord Services.
Neill McKee from the Suffolk and Lenadoon Interface Group (SLIG) said:
“This tournament has been taking place for six years and is a great way for our young people to start friendships at local levels, across sectarian and social divides. The young people from all over the City are off school on mid-term and came together to celebrate their common love of football.”
Deirdre Crawford from the Housing Executive’s Community Cohesion team also commented:
“The Housing Executive provided funding to SLIG to bring together children living at interface areas from all over Belfast. Football has its own universal language, helping to promote team working and nurture lasting relationships. I am delighted that this interface group is continuing to reach out and create long lasting relationships.”
Our Director of Landlord Services, Gerry Flynn, was on hand to congratulate all who take part in the event. He said:
“Sport is a powerful conduit for any message. The Suffolk and Lenadoon Interface Group have a proven winning formula for getting children involved with this soccer tournament, and they are to be congratulated for their efforts in addressing difficult issues in this way. I enjoyed the show of soccer skills and encouraging progress at the workshops, and was proud to be part of the prize giving at the end of a successful day.”