Sport NI urged to increase support for LGBTQ+ people and women following funding underspend

Sporting Pride called on Sport NI to fund programmes targeting women and LGBTQ+ people, who have traditionally been excluded from sport.

This article is about Sport NI and LGBTQ+ inclusion. In the photo, the legs of two people playing football on a field.
Image: Via Unsplash - Tobias Flyckt

In a recent interview, Sport NI interim CEO Richard Archibald confirmed that the organisation had not spent £1 million in funding in the past two years, resulting in it being returned to the Department of Communities. In light of the news of Sport NI’s underspend, Sporting Pride has called for increased efforts for the inclusion of women and LGBTQ+ people in sports.

Sport NI is a publicly funded body which aims to increase people’s participation in sports in Northern Ireland, as well as support elite-level athletes. According to an interview recently published by the BBC, the organisation has been “regarded as a risk by the Department of Communities Audit Committee” for its financial management performance in the last two years.

During the interview, Sport NI interim CEO Richard Archibald confirmed that the body has underspent its budget by £500,000 in each of the past two years, amounting to a total of £1 million, which was sent back to the Department of Communities instead of being used to fund projects for the inclusion of more people in sports.

In light of the news, Sporting Pride urged Sport NI to engage with community groups to develop and fund programmes and initiatives “specifically targeting those who have traditionally been excluded from sport, including the LGBTQ+ community.”

According to Sporting Pride, in 2021, it created a new role of Northern Ireland Liaison Officer to develop Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity (DEI) initiatives across all sports in Northern Ireland. Since then, the NI Liaison Officer has worked with a number of many National Governing Bodies (NGBs) – including the GAA, LGFA, IFA, IRFU, Rowing Ireland, Athletics Ireland and Squash Ireland – to develop such programmes.

In February 2023, Sport NI met with Sporting Pride members in Belfast to discuss several topics regarding LGBTQ+ people in sports. Among the topics of discussion were ways in which Sporting Pride could be formally recognised as a Sport NI partner, and the need for financial support for programmes on diversity and inclusion.

However, according to the LGBTQ+ organisation, there has been very little communication between Sporting Pride and Sport NI since that meeting, even though the NI Liaison Officer has reportedly attempted to reach out on multiple occasions.

Sporting Pride is a sports association that works to encourage the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland to get active and participate in sports. They help sporting organisations develop inclusive initiatives to break down barriers and increase participation by making sports inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ people. For more info, check out their website.

© 2024 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.