Schoolchildren help launch a new sport and physical activity strategy at Stormont

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More than 240 schoolchildren were able to try out new sports when a new ‘Active Living’ strategy was launched at Stormont on Tuesday.

They were joined by Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey, Olympians Paddy Barnes and Shirley McCay, and Paralympian Claire Taggart, to launch the program at the NI Civil Service Sports Association pavilion in Stormont.

The strategy pledged to achieve its vision of lifelong engagement in sport and physical activity and to promote a “healthy, resilient and inclusive society” through participation.

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The 10-year plan builds on the success of Sport Matters published in 2009.

On Tuesday, school children were able to try out a range of activities including boccia, GAA, hockey, football, cricket, rugby, orienteering, rock climbing, skateboarding and boxing.

Minister Hargey said: “The strategy is about getting more people, more active, more time. It needs to start with children having access to more opportunities, being exposed to different sports and making sure they have fun and enjoy a quality experience.

“There is a need to focus not just on sport, but on our communities, where everyone, regardless of ability or gender, has the opportunity to be physically active and potentially successful in competition.”

Active Living was developed through the engagement of over 200 groups and was refined following extensive public consultation.

It took four years of research, sector and community engagement and consultation.

Minister Hargey added: “I want this strategy to bring about change, to challenge the normal approach by removing barriers to inclusion.

“I want it to boost participation rates by increasing opportunities for as many people as possible to participate in sport and physical activity.”

Check out our launch video at the top of this story…

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