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The Ultimate Goal: Embedding Cultural Change Conference.
Over 140 sports sector staff, volunteers and professionals, from across Northern Ireland, left the Female Sports Forum ‘The Ultimate Goal: Embedding Cultural Change Conference’ held in Stormont Hotel, Belfast today, feeling inspired and better equipped to develop the ultimate goal of cultural change within their sporting organisations and local communities. Proceedings commenced with welcomes from Sport NI CEO, Antionette McKeown and MC for the Conference, freelance broadcaster and Rondo CEO, Nicola McCarthy.
Keynote speakers included: Ali Oliver, CEO of the Youth Sport Trust; Kate Grey, former Paralympic swimmer, athlete mentor and broadcaster; and Skeleton Bobsleigh Olympic Champion, sports commenter and TV presenter, Amy Williams MBE. Ali Oliver addressed the need to change the perceptions of physical activity, making play fun and the positive impact of getting young girls active, providing some insightful facts and figures from recent research completed by the Youth Sport Trust. Kate Grey shared her story with courage and confidence, telling of how sport has positively influenced her life to overcome a life changing injury at just two years old, describing that the culture of success must change to simply be the best version of yourself. Amy Williams described her experiences and challenges with culture change through choosing to compete in a minority sport and her journey to becoming the world’s best.
Inspiration was further gained from the four workshops offered to attendees which were delivered by representatives from Ulster University, Liverpool John Moores University, St Mary’s University College and Off the Bench Podcast and YouTube. The workshops targeted the four key pillars outlined in the Female Sports Forum’s Active, Fit and Sporty Strategy which are; media, leadership, role models and research and evaluation. Through attending specific workshops, delegates developed a knowledge of: how to develop effective leadership and positive team cultures; how to make the most of their own media potential and resources; what steps are required to support athlete’s wellbeing in sport; and the fundamentals of how to care in sports coaching.
20 x 20 delivered a short update on the current position of the 20 x20 campaign designed by Along Came A Spider and coordinated by the Federation of Irish Sport. Ajendance led attendees in some light movement and dance prior to lunch.
At the end of the Conference, the Female Sports Forum Chair, Angela Platt, challenged attendees to continue to strive towards embedding cultural change in female sport and physical activity in Northern Ireland. Angela thanked the Department for Communities and Sport NI for their support for the Female Sports Forum and the Active, Fit and Sporty project with significant investment providing to a wide range of opportunities for female engagement in sport.
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