The Sport Northern Ireland Investing in Performance Sport Programme
Investing in Performance Sport will contribute to the target within Sport Matters: The Northern Ireland Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation in Northern Ireland, 2009-2019:
“By 2019, to have secured a world class system for athlete development consisting of services, facilities and competition following the hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012”.
Over the 2009-13 period, Sport Northern Ireland intends to invest up to £13.2m of performance sport resources on strengthening the ten ‘pillars’ or support structures for successful athlete development.
The ten ‘pillars’ on which Sport Northern Ireland will focus its investment are:
- Modern, fit for purpose organisations;
- Intelligent participation initiatives;
- Talent identification and development;
- Quality and quantity of coaches;
- A high quality training environment;
- Appropriate competition and training ratio;
- Scientific and medical support;
- Support for athletes during the competitive lifetime and post their athletic career;
- Consolidated financial support for the development of sports and athletes; and
- Integrating policy development.
Through its four-year investment, Sport Northern Ireland will assist with:
- Addressing weaknesses in current performance sport systems;
- Building capacity and new systems within, and for, governing bodies of sport; and
- Enabling Northern Ireland’s disabled and able-bodied athletes achieve the Strategy’s target of at least 100 Northern Ireland athletes attaining medal success at the high level in their sport including European, World and Olympic/Paralympic level by 2019”.
Investment is primarily aimed at the employment of staff within organisations. Over the 2009-13 time-frame, Sport Northern Ireland will invest in over 100 posts, including Chief Executive Officers, business development posts, performance coaches, coaching personnel and talent identification officers.
Sport Northern Ireland has identified five performance themes with each successful applicant receiving financial support against at least one of the five themes:
- Modernisation – developing a ‘Fit for Purpose’ Governing Body;
- Participation - growing sustained participation structures in the sport;
- Talent identification and development;
- High performance athlete development; and
- Coaching development.
So what will be different about sport in Northern Ireland following this four year investment package awarded by Sport Northern Ireland? In general terms, £13m will buy:
- Modernisation – professional and accountable organisations as evidenced by their level of financial assurance, best practice method of governance and transparency in accountability to their membership, funders and public.
- Participation – sport club members experiencing sport in an accessible, quality and safe environment enabling enjoyment as well as technical and tactical improvement by athletes and evidenced by new members and improving standards of performance.
- Talent ID and Development – public profiles of what a good athlete should like at each stage of their development as they move towards achieving world class success, allied to more sophisticated methods of identifying, developing and confirming talent.
- High Performance Athletes – improved planning resulting in more athletes having a choice of whether to go the ‘Irish’ route or ‘UK’ route in their sporting careers. Athletes requiring less ‘remedial’ work and able to benefit more quickly from new levels of scientific and medical support
- Coaching development - in short, more coaches in sports who know what ‘good’ coaching is, as evidenced through improved sporting performances and their attainment of best practice from involvement in ongoing professional development courses.
As well as awards to the Northern Ireland Sports Forum and the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council, sports in which Sport Northern Ireland is current investing are:
The Sport Northern Ireland Investing in Performance Sport Programme is not currently open for applications.
For further information on the Investing in Performance Sport Programme, please contact the Performance Sport Team on 028 90381 222.