Sports Minister Nelson McCausland said that while major challenges lay ahead, good progress was being made in implementing the Northern Ireland Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation.
The strategy, entitled Sport Matters, outlines a new vision for sport and physical recreation in Northern Ireland. It also establishes key targets and priorities for sport’s future development as identified by the sports sector, the community at large and a range of other interests across central and local government, the voluntary and business sectors.
The Minister was speaking as he addressed the AGM of the Northern Ireland Sports Forum. He said: “Governing bodies play a central role in the delivery of Sport Matters, and since the launch of the strategy in May of this year, significant progress has been made. I have established a monitoring group made up of a number of government Departments and stakeholders, including the Sports Forum, to oversee the delivery of the strategy.
“In addition to this, three Implementation Groups have been established to create action plans to address the major challenges Northern Ireland sport faces today, particularly in terms of participation, high performance and the quantity and quality of existing infrastructure.”
The Minister added: “There are significant challenges ahead in delivering Sport Matters and the Sports Forum have an important role to play as members of both the Monitoring Group and the Implementation Groups.
“However, I am pleased with the significant progress made to date and the structures that have been established. We must now build on that progress. We must maintain that momentum. Above all, in the face of any difficulty ahead, we must continue to demonstrate and show that ‘Sport’ really does ‘Matter’.”