Co Antrim students report improvement in confidence thanks to Lidl NI Sport for Good programme
Olympic and Paralympic heroes and local sporting legends have teamed up with Lidl Northern Ireland to launch this year’s Sport for Good Schools Programme which, in partnership with children’s charity Youth Sport Trust, aims to promote positive mental health amongst secondary school pupils across Northern Ireland through sport.
The Lidl Northern Ireland Sport for Good Schools Programme is a mental health athlete mentorship programme with a dedicated focus on boosting young people’s social skills, self-esteem and body confidence through sports participation. The programme aims to address the needs of some 45% of young people here who said their mental health had deteriorated since the pandemic began.
More than 5,200 secondary school pupils from across 25 schools located in every county participated in the 2021/22 programme, with seven hailing from County Antrim.
The winning schools in this region included Antrim Grammar School, Ballyclare Secondary School, Bloomfield Collegiate, Cullybackey College, Edmund Rice College, Fort Hill Integrated College and St Dominic’s Grammar School.
Mrs. Lendrum, Principal of Antrim Grammar, said:
“Tackling mental health and breaking the stigma around this taboo subject is a key focus for the staff at Antrim Grammar. We strive to educate our pupils on managing their emotions, especially during stressful periods of the school year and providing mental health services that are easily accessible.
"It was an absolute delight to watch our pupils engage with the programme and to learn about the mentor’s inspiring sporting journeys- the resilience, drive and ambition really connected with a lot of our pupils on a personal level.
"The staff and pupils at Antrim Grammar would like to express our thanks to the parents and local Lidl shoppers who voted for us and would like to encourage you to get voting as we would love to be amongst this year’s winning schools”.
Lidl Northern Ireland shoppers in County Antrim can nominate their local secondary school to win a place on the Sport for Good programme, as well as £1,000 worth of brand-new sports equipment, when visiting their local Lidl store.
Feedback from the winning schools in 2021/2022 revealed that 83% of participants felt Lidl Northern Ireland’s programme boosted their overall confidence. Additional programme benefits included improved resilience and enjoyment of exercise as well as increased confidence to participate in future sport.
All teachers participating in the programme also confirmed their commitment to making improvements to their school’s mental health curriculum as a result of the programme.
The Sport for Good Schools Programme is championed by six-time Paralympic gold medallist swimmer Bethany Firth OBE, 2022 Commonwealth Games and European Championship 1,500 metre silver medalist, Ciara Mageean, and Olympic gymnast, Rhys McClenaghan.
The programme sees a series of mental health workshops delivered by a squad of specially trained NI sports stars, including Michael McKillop MBE and Shirley McCay MBE, who are appointed as the programme’s athlete mentors by the Youth Sport Trust.
Lidl Northern Ireland Sport for Good ambassador, Ciara Mageean said:
“As a middle-distance runner competing at the highest level of international sport, I know how important it is to have a strong mindset and belief in myself to achieve my goals. It’s something I focus and work on every day.
"I’m proud to be an ambassador for Lidl Northern Ireland’s Sport for Good Schools Programme which is dedicated to supporting young people and improving mental health outcomes, particularly after the challenging times of the last few years”.
Joe Mooney, Senior Partnerships Manager for Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland said:
“As part of our established Community Works initiative, the Sport for Good Schools Programme is designed to tackle the mental health challenges faced by our young people head on and we’re delighted to see the positive feedback in the programme evaluation which shows just how transformative the programme has been in its first year.
“We’re committed to building on the work we have done so far to ensure more school students are motivated to harness the physical and mental health benefits of sport, and look forward to working with our ambassadors and with the Youth Sport Trust as we actively reach into local communities to support young people across the region in a practical and meaningful way.”
Lidl Northern Ireland shoppers can nominate their local secondary school to win a place on the Sport for Good programme, as well as £1,000 worth of brand-new sports equipment, when visiting their local Lidl store and making a purchase to receive a qualifying Lidl receipt containing a 10-digit code.
Receipt codes must then be submitted online along with the secondary school nomination for a chance to win. Entries can be made via the dedicated Sport for Good online entry form at lidl-ni.co.uk/lidl-community-works.
The competition is open now until Sunday, October 16th.
The Sport for Good programme data was collated as part of Lidl Community Works: Sport for Good Evaluation Report, produced by the Youth Sport Trust Research and Insight Team (August 2022).
• 83% of students reported improved confidence
• 75% of students reported an improvement in their resilience and self-belief
• Two thirds of pupils (66%) said the programme increased their enjoyment of exercise
• Three quarters (74%) of pupils said their confidence in taking part in sport increased
• 100% of teachers committed to making improvements to their school’s mental health curriculum