Longford take LEAP into helping community


Longford take LEAP into helping community

Teamwork is at the heart of a new programme in County Longford that has brought the Football Association of Ireland, An Garda Síochána, Health Service Executive (HSE) and Longford Sports Partnership together.
24th Jun 2022

With the aim of getting local young players enjoying football whilst developing key skills, the LEAP Garda Youth Diversion Project and HSE Traveller Primary Healthcare Project combined to cater for 28 participants.

Graham Kane, FAI Development Officer, explained: "This programme is designed to work in collaboration with various stakeholders for the benefit of the young participants through football.

"I look forward to the programme developing throughout the summer and creating a fun and safe environment for the participants throughout the project. The programme with Longford Sports Partnership, An Garda Síochána, LEAP Garda Youth Diversion Project and the HSE Traveller Primary Healthcare Project) provides football games to promote life skills such as inclusion, teamwork, respect and collaboration for 28 young people in Longford. 

"The participants also got the opportunity to meet James Abankwah ,a local role model from Longford who previously played with Melview FC, is currently with St Patrick's Athletic and will be moving to Udinese in Italy’s Serie A in July."

Sergeant Darren Conlon, Community Policing Unit, Longford Garda Station, said: "This soccer project is tangible evidence of what is being achieved through the Longford Community Safety Partnership. I always consider sport the best way to interact, build bridges, promote a healthy lifestyle and highlight positive role models.”

Janine Bartley, Longford Local Community Safety Partnership Coordinator, said: "Longford LCSP is delighted to support this collaborative initiative from our Partnership members (Longford Sports Partnership/FAI, An Garda Síochána, LEAP Garda Youth Diversion Project and the HSE Traveller Primary Healthcare Project). A big thanks to everyone who worked to bring this to fruition. It was great to see so many participants at the first session and we look forward to seeing skills and friendships develop over the next couple of weeks. We have some stars in the making in this group."

Michael Reilly, Outdoor Sports & Inclusion Officer, Longford Sports Partnership, said: "This program's opening night was a huge success. Seeing so much time and effort invested on extremely underprivileged youths was tremendously motivating. They all enjoyed the activity, and no child was left out of the fun. I'm eager to see how this program develops."