Location and general information
The John Giles Foundation aims to promote sporting activities and a healthy lifestyle among children in disadvantaged communities across Ireland. There is a special focus on football, which is used to tackle obesity and social exclusion. The foundation helps to strengthen club structures and local entities in order to foster the integration of vulnerable sections of the population and bring about positive social change. It also supports various programmes at national level. The UEFA Foundation for Children shares the John Giles Foundation’s vision, so it is keen to provide financial backing for the foundation’s current activities and help it to support more programmes in the future.
“Make opportunities a right – not a privilege.” John Giles
With this motto, the John Giles Foundation focuses on the individual in his/her own environment. The foundation uses football to create a better quality of life, greater self-esteem and increased opportunities. Many small, rural communities cannot afford the basic facilities required to cater for children who want to participate in football or other sporting activities, as funding is very limited. Assistance with the development of appropriate infrastructure in those communities would give thousands of children the opportunity to play football or other sports.
Testimony to the positive impact of the programme
“The foundation’s support helped us to improve our facilities and thereby increase participation in girls’ football in a remote rural area in the west of Ireland. As a result, we now have three girls’ teams where there were none previously.” Richie Flannery, Kilmore Girls FC
Healthy Kids’ programme
The John Giles Foundation is helping communities through its ‘Heathy Kids’ programme, which involves a local team working with communities to increase awareness of how important healthy living is for children. That initiative is based on three elements:
- education regarding nutrition, a balanced diet and the importance of regular physical activity;
- the provision of an outlet for that physical activity;
- support for the local team and the community to keep the programme going.
The power of football is effectively used to build community cohesion, promote health, and encourage lifelong participation and learning in this programme.
Expected impact and results
- Improved infrastructure in order to increase access to sport in remote rural areas
- More children playing football or other sports, including girls and children from disadvantaged communities
- Trained, qualified coaches in both rural and urban areas
- Greater awareness of the growing obesity issue in Ireland and the provision of solutions through sport, nutritional guidance and the promotion of healthy lifestyles
- Tangible positive impact on children’s health and social integration, and an increase in lifelong participation and learning
John Giles Foundation: www.johngilesfoundation.com