Since 2015, the Rory Mc Donagh Trust has provided funding to facilitate a cross border exchange for up to 40 young people from Belfast and Cork. Each year one residential takes place in Cork and one in Belfast with young people from each city, hosting the partner group in their city.
Prior to each residential young people participate in a Community Sports Leader's Award, aimed at helping young people develop the skills to teach basic sports skills to others in their community. Each exchange residential utilises sports as a method to bring communities together and explore the themes of diversity and tolerance.
The cross-border exchange enables young people from both Cork and Belfast to explore the similarities and differences that exist between the two communities and identify how they as young people can bring about positive change in their communities by addressing issues which impact young people in both communities.
In 2016-17 the Rory Mc Donagh Exchange programme worked in partnership with Peace Players in Belfast and the Cork Sports Partnership to explore the themes of diversity, stereotyping and prejudice through sport. The theme of sport ran throughout both residentials highlighting how sport can be used as a tool to bring people together.
As part of the exchange young people also participated in a series of cultural tours of both Cork and Belfast. In Belfast the group had the opportunity to visit important sites including City Hall, the Peace Walls, Titanic Belfast and a visit to a local youth centre. In Cork the group had the opportunity to attend a reception hosted by the Mayor of Cork at City Hall, and a trip to Cobh including a visit to the Titanic experience.
The cross border exchange programme provides young people with the opportunity to develop positive relationships with their peers on a cross border basis. To date the Rory Mc Donagh exchange programme has proved successful in helping young people challenge stereotypes and connect with other young people from across the border.
To find out more about the work of the Rory Mc Donagh Trust please click here: