The Harry Gregg Foundation, in partnership with Ulster University, has announced £10,000 of sports scholarships that will help students from the North Coast area develop their skills both on and off the football pitch.
As part of the development of the HGF Small Sided Games Centre based at Ulster University’s Coleraine campus, funds have been secured from the Garfield Weston Trust to provide local students with IFA coaching and officiating qualifications.
The scholarships will support the development of over 20 students who will assist in the delivery of the Foundation’s community football initiatives that aim to promote active lifestyles and healthily living among young people and the wider community.
Attending the launch of the scholarships, Harry Gregg said this was a very significant step forward for the Foundation and emphasised the importance of support at all levels.
He said: “We all know the importance and benefits of facilitating sport at all levels and this fits perfectly with the Foundations aim of providing opportunities and inspiring dreams.”
Dr Nigel Dobson, Head of Sports Services at Ulster University added: “Currently the programme attracts approximately 1,300 players (aged 8-12) plus 2,500 coaches and spectators each week to our Coleraine campus. This new financial support will further strengthen the collaboration between the University and the Foundation, which has already been such a resounding success.
“The scholarships are open to all students based in the North Coast area from any higher education institution. The students will get access to training, qualifications in grassroots soccer coaching and refereeing. They will also be mentored and supported by senior coaching experts from Ulster University’s School of Sport and the Irish Football Association. These scholarships will help students develop skills that are highly sought after by employers while also enhancing their football-related talents.
“In January 2017, the University will open a new £5 million sports centre at the Coleraine campus and we look forward to further supporting the Foundation by providing access to our first-rate sporting facilities. We thank the Garfield Weston Trust for their very generous support which will transform the lives of many local children and have a long lasting legacy for sport in the local area.”
Michael Boyd, Director of Development at the Irish Football Association praised the Garfield Weston Trust for their financial contribution and the importance of coaching as a key element in the new IFA ‘Let Them Play’ strategy.
He said: “A key component of our Youth Development Plan is increased numbers of young coaches inspiring the next generation. This partnership approach will hopefully be a model of good practice to roll out across all areas of our work and ahead of the Euros next month we are excited at the potential of this programme as we grow our engagement at all levels.”
Full details and application forms will be available on HarryGregg.com from June 10th.