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George Best Foundation Sponsors Belfast Giants HEROS Launch

May 25th, 2010

Cross Community Hockey Camp

George Best Foundation & the Belfast Giants join forces to support summer HEROS ice hockey programme

Sports Minister Nelson McCausland was on hand at the House of Sport to launch a cross-community and cross-border ice hockey programme tipped to run throughout the summer.

The programme will involve 34 young people from East Belfast, West Belfast and Finglas (Dublin) areas.

Sponsored by the George Best Foundation, the programme builds on a successful model developed by volunteers working within Co-operation Ireland along with the Belfast Giants players and a small group of dedicated Canadian volunteers.

The programme runs over the coming months, eventually culminating with a week long ice hockey camp in August.

H.E.R.O.S (Hockey Education Reaching Out Society) uses ice hockey as a catalyst to bring young people together to develop greater understanding of themselves and each other. The programme focuses on personal development and developing an understanding and mutual respect between young people with different backgrounds.

“The George Best Giant HEROS Programme is as much about their personal development off the ice as their hockey skills on the ice. They will develop real friendships with each other, face and overcome some big challenges together, and learn how to work more effectively with their differences as well as what they have in common. Everyone involved, from the youth workers and volunteers to their parents will see a big difference,” said Todd Kelman, online slots Belfast Giants General Manager.

Speaking after meeting with the organisers and participants of the programme, Minister McCausland said: This initiative is a great example of how sport can play its part in helping Northern Ireland towards a shared and better future. I commend the programme organisers for not only providing these young people with the opportunity to work alongside professional ice hockey players, but also giving them the chance to meet new people and learn new skills.”

George Best Foundation Secretary, Barbara McNarry expressed her support for the programme “The George Best Foundation is delighted to be working alongside the Belfast Giants on this exciting project. The charity works towards giving young people a unique opportunity to learn and develop life skills in social inclusion programmes.

Whilst our main driver is football we encompass and encourage all sport. The Belfast Giants HEROS programme fits perfectly with our aims and we hope that every young person gains from this experience and takes away positive messages from this unique project.”

Anne Anderson-porter, Co-operation Ireland said “Co-operation Ireland believes in the ability of this programme to change lives. By developing the experiences of young people today, we will encourage them to move forward and help build a vibrant and peaceful society in the future.”

The programme will be delivered in partnership with Co-operation Ireland, The Bridge Youth Club, Finglas Youth Service and Corpus Christi Youth Club.