Active Communities, a Sport Northern Ireland Lottery Funded initiative, has won the UK Coaching Award’s prestigious ‘UK Coaching Intervention of the Year’ award.
HRH Princess Royal presented the award at a ceremony in the Lancaster Hotel, London.
Active Communities aims to increase participation in sport and physical recreation in communities throughout Northern Ireland.
The award recognises the huge impact that Active Communities has made in Northern Ireland since it was launched in April 2010, providing: 109 full-time sports coaches in communities throughout Northern Ireland; 117,000 hours of coaching in 40 different sports and activities; and, opportunities for 150,000 people to get active and stay active.
Active Communities has a particular focus on encouraging under-represented groups, and those living in areas of high social need, to get involved, and stay involved, in sport and physical recreation. Accordingly, 88,000 females, 16,500 older people and 20,000 people with a disability have benefitted from participating in the programme.
The UK Coaching Awards are organised by Sports Coach UK and recognise the best coaches, and the best coaching programmes, at both participation and performance levels.
Accepting the award on behalf of Active Communities, Acting Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Nick Harkness, praised the efforts of all those involved:
“Active Communities is providing locally available and accessible opportunities for people to take part in sport and physical recreation, and is helping people to realise the health and social benefits associated with sport.
“The success of the project is the culmination of the efforts of many organisations and individuals including Sport Northern Ireland, the 26 district councils, governing bodies of sport, sports clubs, schools and an eclectic range of community and voluntary organisations.
“Most importantly, the success is the result of the hard work, skill and dedication of the coaches who are providing quality experiences for people throughout NI. I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the contribution of all of the programme partners.”