Here in Belfast and Northern Ireland, PeacePlayers has been using basketball – and some of the other more well known sports here in N.I. – to help bridge the long existing divides, develop the next generation of leaders and change many of the long held views and perceptions people have of those from the ‘other side’. Through years of hard work, building positive relationships with participants, schools, community leaders and young people, PP-NI has been able to establish itself as one of the go to Sports based cross-community organisations in Northern Ireland. PP-NI works with on average 2,000 children and young people every year thanks to partnerships in Belfast and several Council Areas across Northern Ireland.
Having been long established, PP-NI is currently experiencing some of its most exciting growth. As we continue to work with a large group of new and retained young people, many of the former participants that had been in PeacePlayers programmes since a young age are now becoming employable coaches who can now go back, directly into their own community, and coach the next generation of young people. These coaches are well adept at facilitating cross-community based discussions and activities through a sporting context in addition to being excellent basketball coaches. Using this model, peace in Northern Ireland is transformed from the inside out, not from the outside in!
In the video below, you will see a twinning in North Belfast where the emphasis is on having fun, team building and learning about each other; this is followed by our Belfast Interface League (plus) after school programme that is available to older participants that are keen on building both their relationships with others and developing their basketball skills; and the video concludes with a clip of our most recent coaches training where they are learning the skills needed to facilitate the activities being held in the twinning programme!