Monday, November 29, 2021
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Olympic heroes Rhys and Bethany put mental health in spotlight

Lidl Northern Ireland has teamed up with local sporting heroes, including six-time Paralympic gold medallist swimmer Bethany Firth, Olympic gymnast Rhys McClenaghan and Olympic runner Ciara Mageean, to launch the 2021 Sport for Good campaign, in partnership with children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust.

Established in 2019, the Sport for Good scheme aims to encourage and support young people to make the most of the physical and mental benefits of sport participation.

Over the past two years Sport for Good has supported more than 80 sports clubs and schools across Northern Ireland and provided more than £220,000 in funding to encourage more young people into sport.

With 45 per cent of young people in Northern Ireland saying their mental health has worsened since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s Sport for Good campaign is focused on boosting young people’s social skills, self-esteem and body confidence through sports participation and supporting young people across the region with the roll out of a dedicated Mental Health Athlete Mentorship Programme.

Lidl Northern Ireland shoppers can nominate their local secondary school to win a place on the Mental Health Athlete Mentorship Programme by visiting their local Lidl store and making a purchase to receive a qualifying Lidl receipt containing a 10-digit code.

Entries can be made via the dedicated Sport for Good online entry form at lidl-ni.co.uk/lidl-community-works

The competition is open now until Sunday 28th November.

Ambassador Bethany Firth, MBE, said: “Sports participation is one of the best ways to improve physical and mental health and I’m honoured to be a Lidl Northern Ireland Sport for Good Ambassador for a third year running.

“Since the launch of this initiative I’ve seen how the programme has transformed the lives of many young people and the positive feedback received has been phenomenal. Having just competed at the Tokyo Olympics, and as a Paralympian, I know only too well how important it is to have a strong, healthy mindset which really helped drive me to winning two gold and two silver medals this year.

“I also realise how lucky I am to be surrounded by an excellent support system of teachers, coaches, family and friends who spur me on to reach my sporting goals. Not all young people have that same access or have the skills to be able to manage their mental health and that’s why this year’s Sport for Good campaign is more important than ever.

“I’m really proud to launch this initiative and partner with Lidl Northern Ireland who are actively reaching into the heart of communities, investing in young people and helping improve their health and wellbeing through sport.”

Representing an investment of over £100,000, this year’s programme gives 25 secondary schools across the region the opportunity to win a spot on Lidl Northern Ireland’s dedicated Mental Health Athlete Mentorship Programme plus £1,000 worth of sports equipment for their school.

Gordon Cruickshanks, Head of Sales Operations for Lidl Northern Ireland, said: “At Lidl Northern Ireland we’re committed to supporting our local communities through our established Community Works initiative and Sport for Good is our flagship programme to reach and support young people across the region.

“The pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant impact on the mental health of our young people and this year we aim to tackle mental health head on.

“We’re delighted to partner with Youth Sport Trust for the first time to deliver a bespoke Mental Health Athlete Programme, designed specifically for secondary school pupils to provide practical advice and techniques to improve mental health through sport.”

Jenny Rouse, Head of Business Development & Fundraising, Youth Sport Trust, said: “Empowering young people through sport is the lifeblood of our charity and we are delighted to partner with Lidl Northern Ireland on the Sport for Good 2021 programme.

“Sport gives young people a platform to have their voices heard and a sense of belonging, and it is our mission to harness this power to help them build a brighter future.”

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