Young people will be at the focus of a major sport and community initiative to be held in Portadown on 22 June. Aptly named, Sportadown, the event brings together sport groups, youth clubs and a range of agencies that will deliver an inclusive experience which is both cross community in essence and multi-faceted in terms of opportunities provided. Over fifteen different ‘come and try’ physical activity experiences can be explored by hundreds of young people in and around the Meadows Shopping Centre. The event is also be complimented by a Viking boat race on the River Bann delivered by Craigavon Borough Council.
The Sportadown festival is one of the principal elements of a youth engagement programme entitled CURBS, (Communities Unite in Reconciling and Building Society) supported by OFMDFM and Atlantic Philanthropies.
At the heart of the Sportadown initiative is the objective of increasing youth participation in sport, the promotion of healthy lifestyles, provision of opportunities to volunteer and to enhance young people’s ability to make a significant contribution to society.
Besides the flagship event on Saturday 22 June, a further three initiatives will take place in the area. Sportadown kicks off on 18 June with a seminar entitled ‘Moving the Nation: increasing youth sport participation’ and brings together speakers from the sport and physical activity sector, including Sport Northern Ireland, ukactive, Ulster GAA and Unify, who will discuss youth participation in sport. A coaching masterclass will also be delivered and focuses on how to make physical activity sessions more engaging and enjoyable for young people.
Richie Smith, from Unify who is managing Sportadown said: “More than ever physical activity must be embedded into the DNA of our population. The challenge for all is to find innovative ways to present sport and physical activity, embrace technology, offer more accessible options and engage more positively with communities rather than waiting for communities to go to leisure facilities. ‘Sportadown’ offers a fantastic programme and we invite NGB’s, local sport clubs, coaches, Local authorities and Health Improvement Officers to get involved so that together we can inspire a generation to become more active and enjoy the health and social benefits of sport.”