Prior to the exchange, young people from Belfast and Cork engaged in a series of workshops within their own communities exploring their sense of identity as well as their perceptions of the ‘other’ community.   They also participated in a series of workshops exploring sports leadership and the role sport can play in bringing together communities.  The groups from Belfast and Monkstown Boxing Club jointly completed a Community Sports leader’s award while the Cork group worked with Cork Sports Partnership on an accredited sports leadership training programme.

Thirty five young people came together on a cross border exchange on the 22nd- 24th April in Cork, the majority of young people from Belfast who participated in this exchange had never been across the border before. On the first evening of the exchange young people attended the Lord Mayor’s reception; during the reception young people shared their experiences of the exchange programme and the impact it has had on them. Young people also performed local songs from their areas to those attending the reception.

The second day of the exchange was very much focused on sports; young people participated in a workshop held by Cork Sports partnership, which used sports as a tool to bring people together.  In the second part of the day young people got the opportunity to engage with local sports leaders including Steven Ward, a silver medallist in the Commonwealth games from Belfast, Juliet Murphy All Ireland Winner in Gaelic Football, Nollaig O Neill, Cork City Marathon winner and Christina Desmond, winner in the All Ireland Boxing titles.  The panel of sportsmen and woman shared their stories of how they got into sport and the impact it had on their lives, following this young people had the opportunity to put questions to the sports personalities.

Young people then visited the Glen Resource centre where they had the opportunity to participate in a series of sports challenges. This again helped young people to develop relationships and work together, using sports as a tool.

On the Sunday young people explored the culture of Cork and looked at the connections that exist between Belfast and Cork.  Young people travelled by boat to Cobh, an area closely connected to the history of the Titanic. As both cities have strong links to the Titanic young people visited the Cobh heritage centre which gave young people an insight into the Titanic connection in Cobh, tying together the two cities.