A Macmillan Cancer Support initiative helping hundreds of local people living with cancer through sport has been named Project of the Year Sport Northern Ireland’s 2018 SportMaker Awards.

Move More Northern Ireland, working in partnership with physical activity providers, local councils and health and social care trusts all over Northern Ireland, supports people with cancer to understand and enjoy the benefits of physical activity. In the last twelve months 700 participants, have participated in a range of sporting activities, including cycling, walking, swimming and cancer-specific circuit classes.

Through the project, Move More Coordinators work with participants to identify and access suitable activities that fit in with the individual’s lifestyle, in order to ensure sustained engagement in sport and physical activity. It is currently operating in seven Northern Ireland local council areas, with Macmillan Cancer Support planning to work with partners to introduce the scheme NI-wide by 2018.

Move More Northern Ireland was named as Project of the Year at Sport NI’s 2018 SportMaker Awards, which recognises the contribution of the local sporting working – the coaches, officials, volunteers and projects making a difference in helping people here enjoy, engage and excel in sport.

The Award was presented to Heather Monteverde, Head of Services for Macmillan in NI, by Sport NI Coaching and Club Development Consultant Michael Cooke at a special event in the Foyle Arena, Derry to mark the official launch of Move More Derry and Strabane. The event also saw Move More Northern Ireland officially announced as a finalist in the prestigious UK Coaching Awards, which take place in London next month.

Receiving the award, Heather Monteverde said:

Move More Northern Ireland has been developed by Macmillan Cancer Support to ensure that people with cancer understand the benefits of physical activity and receive the tailored support that they need to adopt and sustain an active lifestyle. Recent and growing body of evidence has demonstrated the benefits of an active lifestyle for people with cancer. This has been reflected in the responses we have received from our participants, who have reported significant improvements in mobility, reduced pain and discomfort, and reduced levels of anxiety / depression, as a result of their participation in Move More NI.

“We are delighted to have the work we are doing recognised by Sport NI through this award, and we greatly look forward to working with key stakeholders throughout Northern Ireland and help ensure that sport and physical activity becomes a positive lifestyle choice for even more people living with cancer.”

Congratulating Move More Northern Ireland on their SportMaker award and nomination for the UK Coaching Awards, Sport NI Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown added:

“It is a tremendous honour to present the 2018 SportMaker Project of the Year Award to Move More Northern Ireland. The SportMaker Awards are all about shining a light on the people who make sport happen day in, day out across Northern Ireland, and the work being delivered by this particular project is truly inspiring. Sport NI believes passionately that sport has the power to enhance the lives of everyone here and the impact of the work of local Move More Coordinators is testament to that.

“By supporting people living with cancer to get active, and helping them to access the benefits of an active lifestyle to their treatment, recovery and daily lives, this project showcases the value of sport in our communities. I would like to congratulate Macmillan Cancer Support and all of the Move More Coordinators for their outstanding work over the last year. On behalf of Sport NI, I wish them continued success with this project and the best of luck at the UK Coaching Awards next month.”

The 2018 UK Coaching Awards take place on Thursday 29th November.