The Red Card to Sectarianism project was a cross-community/cross-border initiative that used sport as a medium for peace and reconciliation.
The latter was achieved by providing opportunities for young people, boys and girls aged 12-18 years, to interact with their peers across community boundaries.
It encouraged learning, through sport, via the important values of respect, tolerance and acceptance so that they can help build the foundations for a more understanding and peaceful society. Teenage Kickz staff and facilitators from delivery partner, Holywell Trust, engaged with up to 120 young people from eight different communities from across Derry/Londonderry, Strabane and Donegal in a range of activities including football coaching.
The activities took place once a month with one community hosting the other participating communities. Incorporated into the day of activities were peace and reconciliation workshops that helped support the overall aim of challenging young people’s attitudes and perceptions regarding the relevant issues surrounding sectarianism and racism.
The Celebration Event was held to mark the conclusion of the project and its achievements.
Commenting afterwards, Teenage Kickz coordinator Peter Hutton said: “This concluding event helped highlight the undoubted success of the project and demonstrated the progress achieved in bringing together young people from very different communities who have now developed a greater sense of tolerance, an awareness of cultural diversity, understanding, acceptance and trust”.
All the young participants were also presented with t-shirts they themselves designed and created with the theme being peace and reconciliation.
“The Red Card to Sectarianism programme was a fantastic success and this celebration further helped to reaffirm to the young people their sense of accomplishment and how they are the basis upon which progression towards a lasting and sustainable peace will be built.
“I wish to thank all those young people and their respective leaders who participated fully in this 18 month programme and made the whole process a fantastic experience for all involved.
“I’d also like to thank all those who helped facilitate and deliver the programme, the coaches, facilitators and of course our funders from the Northwest Cluster of Peace III”.
Mayor Martin Reilly said the project was the sort of thinh he wanted to promote.