The Respect Project, which is based at the St John Bosco Youth Centre in Newry have recently been successful with £350,000.00 funding to develop a new floodlit 3G Sports Facility on the derelict land between the bosco youth centre and the Newry, Mourne and Down Council's new leisure centre. The money has been awarded by the Space & Place Big Lottery programme. However in order to obtain this £350,000 funding an additional £50,000.00 needs to be raised through community fundraising by March 2017.
The Respect Project is an entirely voluntary run project by people from the local community in Newry. The Project has 22 fully active adult volunteers and 16 Youth Peer Leaders involved in delivering the project activities and to date they have worked with over 1000 young people from throughout the Newry area. Rather than just focusing on playing sport the Project aims to enhance the development of young people by providing them with opportunities to learn and develop as individuals by engaging them in educational programmes which run alongside the sporting activities. The educational aspect of the project focuses on 3 main themes of helping the young people to learn to Respect themselves; Respect their Sport and Respect their Community. Since the Project started the volunteers have developed and delivered a number of innovative programmes which have been widely acknowledged as models of good practice in using sport as a way of addressing social issues in the community. This was highlighted in 2014 when the project received a highly commended award for its work at the Department of Justice Community awards which were held at Stormont Parliament Buildings. The work of the Project ranges from Sports coaching programmes for both boys and girls from 5 years of age up to 18 year olds, educational based programmes with young people that address such issues as drugs and alcohol; mental health, good relations; crime and anti social behaviour, Peer Leadership programmes whereby young people get the opportunity to develop leadership skills by delivering sessions themselves that helps build their capacity for future employment opportunities. The Project also works with adults in the local community through their Get Into Sport Ladies Programmes and Over 35s Men’s Football and Health Programmes.
The funding secured for the 3G pitch development will include floodlighting and improved entrance points to the facility. This development will provide a great opportunity for not only the Respect Project to further develop the work that they do with young people but also provide a state of the art sports facility that local sports clubs, community groups, schools and youth groups can use at an affordable rate.