PeacePlayers Northern Ireland

PeacePlayers Northern Ireland is built on the simple but powerful premise that children who play together, learn to live together.

The Flagship Grant from The Ireland Funds couldn’t have come at a better time. We are now known as a reputable peace building program in our own right. We are recognized as being a key component to making Northern Ireland a better place. The grant makes such a difference for us. PeacePlayers is a great program but none of that could have happened without the support of The Ireland Funds.

— Gareth Harper, Managing Director of PeacePlayers Northern Ireland.

Traditionally, the sport a child plays in Northern Ireland indicates their religious background. As a result, sport can be a source of mistrust, instilling feelings of prejudice at a young age. But because neither side of the sectarian divide plays basketball, this is an activity that can be enjoyed by all.

The Ireland Funds have supported PeacePlayers Northern Ireland for many years but most recently awarded them a Flagship Grant in support of their Champions 4 Peace Initiative (C4P).

The Champions 4 Peace (C4P) Initiative is a year-round program of training and experiential learning opportunities that teaches the next generation of young leaders to use sport to promote peace and reconciliation and to contribute to a shared future for Northern Ireland. It goes beyond bringing children from different backgrounds to play a game and it stimulates dialogue, often about contentious issues that aren’t often explored in a safe and positive space.

In 2015, PPI-NI successfully engaged over 150 young people in Champions 4 Peace from some of Belfast’s most notorious interface areas in constructive dialogue on contentious issues such as flags and emblems, parades and dealing with the past. PPINI’s unique approach focuses on using sport and its inherent lessons of teamwork, cooperation and communication to challenge stereotypes while nurturing the development of positive relationships and friendships.