35 sports have been awarded £6 million in funding over the next two years on the basis of their ability to create development pathways for those with talent.

The overall amount invested directly into the governing bodies has increased significantly from the 2006-09 allocation and will secure over 100 existing and new posts which is an increase of 51 posts in the previous investment in 2006. Responsibility for delivery has been placed in the hands of each governing body, with clear targets agreed on a sport-by-sport basis.

There is in “principle” currently a further £7.2 million of funding which depending on the outcome of the next Comprehensive Spending Review could become confirmed funding to the sports in 2012 and 2013. These additional two years of funding are dependant on future exchequer funding to Sport Northern Ireland as well as the extent to which governing bodies achieve the ag reed targets in their plans.

The investment decisions follow a four-month period of engagement with the sports and a rigorous assessment focused on achieving performance outcomes. This has ensured that the right funding is being invested in the right places.

Northern Ireland’s Chief Executive, Eamonn McCartan, said: “Sport Northern Ireland has worked hard to ensure that our investment in performance sport delivers value for money and, most importantly, results.

“We believe that our partnership approach with the governing bodies of sports will bring us closer to establishing a world class system for athlete development consisting of services, facilities and competition following the hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

“Together, we are building the firm foundations of a world class sporting system.”

McCartan continued, “A world class system will mean professional and accountable organisations, sport club members experiencing sport in a quality and safe environment, more coaches, better methods of identifying talent, and athletes benefitting from new levels of scientific and medical support.

“This will be a tough challenge, but with this investment in performance sport and partnership working, we believe it can be done.”

Sport Northern Ireland has comprehensive systems in place to monitor and evaluate the impact of this investment on a year by year basis and will hold governing bodies of sports accountable for their plans. Sport Northern Ireland know where sports require help and support in taking their plans to the next stage, and will provide advice and expertise to help them succeed.

Each sport has developed a plan which defines where it can contribute to the performance outcomes of Participation, Talent Identification and Development, High Performance, Coaching and M odernisation. Many exciting projects will be funded including:

Cricket Ireland plans to use their funding to develop the sport at every level increasing participation and improving performance. The funding is being used to support staffing through the employment of an Administration Manager, Club Development Manager, Talent Officer and Director of Cricket and to fund programme costs aimed at boosting the number of players. Cricket aims to increase participation amongst teenagers playing hard ball cricket by 5% per annum and to develop an ethnic minority participation programme. In addition Irish cricket aims to be the 8th ranked One Day International (ODI) country in the men’s game and 6th ranked ODI country in the women’s game by 2013.

The Irish Football Association will use their award to put in place better methods of identifying and developing talent through the development of an Excellence Programme Development p lan for the next four years. This includes the employment of six County Excellence Managers to ensure that the structures are in place to nurture the talent of the future and that participants are provided with technical coaching, strength and conditioning, tactical coaching, education and lifestyle management skills and appropriate lifestyle education.

The Ulster Council GAA (UCGAA) will be using this funding to maintain and develop its participation work across all the disciplines with a focus on increasing the numbers playing Hurling, Gaelic Football and Camogie in urban areas and developing counties and improving access to Gaelic games for underrepresented groups including disabled people, ethnic minorities, girls and women and by those not traditionally involved in Gaelic Games.  UCGAA will also work with education to increase participation by Foundation and Key Stage 1 pupils in physical literacy activities and increase participation by Key Stage 2 children in Go Games Blitzes. 

UCGAA will continue to review and modernise business practices at Ulster, County and club levels, building on the work undertaken in 2005 – 2009 with previous government investment.  This includes an ambitious target of 200 quality accredited clubs through a Sport Northern Ireland endorsed Club Maith Programme.  If achieved, this will contribute significantly the target of 1200 accredited clubs by 2018, included in Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation in Northern Ireland – ‘Sport Matters’.

Ulster Hockey – following the amalgamation of the Ulster Women’s Hockey Union and the Ulster Branch Irish Hockey Association to form the Ulster Hockey Union, the investment of nearly half a million will allow Ulster Hockey to put a new staffing structure in place. The following posts will be funded; an Executive Officer to oversee the strategic development and support the management o f the new structure, an Administrative Officer, a Grassroots and Club Development Officer who will work to increase participation in the sport across both males and females and strengthen the club and school infrastructure, in particular in less developed areas. A Talent Identification and Coach Development Officer who will deliver talent identification and development programmes and a High Performance Manager who will continue to deliver the key aspects of high performance in Ulster, and link with the international programme.

UlsterRugby – this investment will support the development of the sport at all levels, from grassroots to performance.  Ulster Rugby plans to increase participation by 10% and increase female participation in schools and clubs by 10% by 2013, sustain the development of rugby in non- traditional areas and to increase the number of under-age players transferring into adult rugby. This funding will enable the appointment of a C lub Services Officer, a Participation Manager, a Women’s Development Officer, High Performance Manager, Coaching Officer and Talent ID Officer (Year 2).

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