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23 August 2019

THE HEROS Programme Takes To the Ice

Dundonald International Ice Bowl has hosted the 12th year of the highly successful cross community Giants HEROS Programme with an energy packed ice hockey camp and big game, involving over 50 young people from Lisburn, Belfast, Holywood, Swords, Dublin and Kinloss in Scotland.

The programme aims to use ice hockey and other shared experiences as catalysts to bring young people together to develop their leadership skills and promote a greater understanding and respect for each other.  This highly successful model was first established in Canada 20 years ago and has helped develop life skills and empower over 10,000 young people since its inception in 2000, and this success has been mirrored in Northern Ireland through the Giants HEROS Programme.

Chairman of the Council`s Leisure & Community Development Committee, Alderman James Tinsley was delighted to host the ice hockey camp at Dundonald International Ice Bowl: “The Council was pleased to support the HEROS programme for another year and welcome the young people, coaches and volunteers to our ice rink in Dundonald. It was fantastic to see so many young people enjoying the programme and taking part in the big game at the end of the week to showcase their new skills in front of family and friends.

“Sport plays an important role in bringing young people together to take part in positive activity which promotes a culture of teamwork and understanding for one another. I would like to thank the organisers and Canadian HEROS volunteers for delivering such an innovative programme which will hopefully have a major impact on the lives of these young people as they apply their new skills and experiences off the ice.”

On behalf of the youth partners, Ken McQuillan added, “The programme works towards giving young people a unique opportunity to learn and develop life skills in ice hockey while developing aspirations for themselves and building relationships between young people from different backgrounds. 

“The programme has been running for 12 years and we are delighted to celebrate the talent, friendships and skills being developed as a result of the programme.  We hope that every young person gains from the experience and takes away positive messages from this unique project.”

The HEROS programme was developed by the youth partners; Crosscare, Army Welfare Services, Ballynafeigh Community Development Association, along with the international partners H.E.R.O.S Canada.