Sligo Rovers partner with Rio Ferdinand Foundation

As Sligo Rovers Football Club prepares to play host to Drogheda United at The Showgrounds on Saturday evening, the club announces its partnership with The Rio Ferdinand Foundation through the International Fund for Ireland Beyond the Ball Project.

Established by former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand, The Rio Ferdinand Foundation has worked across the island of Ireland since 2016, providing mentoring and employment pathways to help young people in disadvantaged communities.

This partnership builds on the work of the Rio Ferdinand Foundation in Sligo, Mayo and Leitrim in recent years, and will form the major hub in the southern border counties for the cross border Beyond the Ball project.

Beyond The Ball is a major partnership between the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and the International Fund for Ireland – bringing young people together across eight counties on the island of Ireland to build shared experiences, undertake training and accreditation, deliver shared social action projects, and engage with policy makers, to shape their own future.

The relationship will also see the Rio Ferdinand Foundation delivery team based in The Showgrounds and deliver community projects and training initiatives for young people in the Sligo / Leitrim region and host events and exchanges with young people and colleagues from Northern Ireland and Britain.

The working partnership announced today with Sligo Rovers, signals a significant step for the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s work on the Island of Ireland to empower equality and create opportunities for young people.

Speaking on the partnership, Sligo Rovers Football Club Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Feakins said:

“Sligo Rovers Football Club are proud to announce a working partnership with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation. As a community owned club, we see numerous synergies between our organisations and look forward to expanding and creating new outreach programs for young people and adults.

“Using football as a vehicle, we will strive to develop ongoing opportunities to engage a wide variety of people to address racism, inequality and develop inclusion across communities in our region. The love and passion for football transcends boundaries, forges friendships, develops confidence and resilience, builds fitness and positive mental health whilst creating longstanding community integration.”

Rio Ferdinand said: “The Beyond the Ball project is a flagship programme for the work of my Foundation on the Island of Ireland and this new partnership with a club of the stature and reach of Sligo Rovers will add fantastic value to our work.

“Rovers are a community club that share many of our values in tackling inequality, building communities, and providing opportunities for young people and I am proud of the fact that my team will be working alongside the club and its people on this important piece of work.”

Paddy Harte, Chair of the International Fund For Ireland, said:

“Sport undoubtedly has the power to bring people and communities together. It can transform people’s lives, broadening their horizons and providing opportunities to develop friendships that they would not otherwise have been able to do.

“Sport makes it possible to have friends in even the most difficult times, and particularly for young people who get the chance to develop friendships across social and economic divides.”