Lidl Northern Ireland’s Sport for Good Schools Programme to tackle mental health head on in new partnership with Youth Sport Trust

Lidl Northern Ireland has selected 25 secondary schools across the region to each benefit from a dedicated Mental Health Athlete Mentorship programme and receive £1,000 worth of brand-new sports equipment as part of the retailer’s established ‘Sport for Good’ initiative.

With 45 per cent of young people in Northern Ireland saying their mental health has worsened since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic*, the Lidl Northern Ireland Sport for Good Schools Programme is focused on teaching students about the long-term physical and mental health benefits of sports participation.

Delivered in partnership with Youth Sport Trust, the UK’s leading sports charity supporting young people’s education and development through sport, the Sport for Good Schools Programme is set to reach thousands of secondary school pupils right across the region over the coming years.

Specially trained athlete mentors will run workshops and take sessions with the students that will help increase their confidence and resilience while also providing them with tools to help manage their own mental health into adulthood.

A stellar line up of eight leading local athletes will deliver the schools programme, including four-time Paralympic athletics champion Michael McKillop and Olympian steeplechase gold medallist Kerry O’Flaherty, Olympian hockey heroes Shirley McCay and Eugene Magee, Northern Ireland netball international and an Armagh ladies’ Gaelic footballer Caroline O’Hanlon, female rugby union champion and Olympian Ashleigh Baxter, Ulster Rugby midfielder and Jiu Jitsu champion Stacey Sloan and Commonwealth Shooting Champion Kirsty Hegarty.

Representing a strong cross section of sport and boasting an impressive array of achievements, each athlete is at the top of their game and will bring a wealth of experience to the classroom.

This week, the retailer announced 25 winning schools – hailing from every county across the region – who were selected for the programme following a call out for competition entries in October last year and were nominated by local shoppers.

Established in 2019, Lidl Northern Ireland’s Sport for Good programme 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.