09/11/2004

Exercise a success for Belfast City Council

Delegates at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall are exercising their minds today on how to get more young people to be physically active and so reduce childhood obesity.

Educationalists, sports personalities, play leaders and community workers are trying to develop new strategies and initiatives to break barriers that prevent young people doing more PE and sport.

The European Year of Education through Sport (EYES) conference is the only European Union funded event in Northern Ireland to tackle the subject. Organised by Belfast City Council in partnership with the five Education and Library Boards, the one-day event is funded by the European Commission, the New Opportunities Fund and the Youth Sports Trust.

Councillor Pat Convery, Chairman of the Council’s Client Services Committee, said: “Improving services to young people is a key priority for Belfast City Council, and this conference provides the opportunity to work in partnership with a number of organisations to ensure this happens in the role of sport.

“One of today’s aims is to identify new ways of encouraging those currently inactive to change their habits. We will be hearing from schools at the forefront of ensuring students balance academic studies with extracurricular sporting activities. We also will have EU speakers outlining best practice in their areas.”

The United Kingdom U19 British Schools gymnastics champions, made up of young people from Our Lady’s Grammar School and Newry Gymnastics Club, will give a demonstration highlighting how they balance sports activity with school studies.

Mr Jaroslav Suchy, a speaker from the Czech Republic, will also discuss how his country uses sport to boost citizenship and fight social exclusion, while Jo Harris from Loughborough University will give details of research into physical activity among the young.

(MB)

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