Fine Gael Waterford senator, Paudie Coffey, said a €24,000 Government cash injection for the Waterford City Football in the Community Programme will make soccer even more accessible to local youngsters.
The funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will enable the Programme to assist the FAI, Waterford City Council and the Young Peoples Fund in promoting Social Inclusion through Football in designated local areas.
A recent study has shown that incidents of anti-social behaviour were cut by up to 30% in areas where initiatives like night leagues and street leagues take place.
Senator Coffey said: “This additional funding will help to further transform young lives locally, making football more accessible to all communities.
“The funding will help deliver active soccer development to key target communities including non-Irish nationals, females and young people at risk.
“Residential associations and new communities will be actively targeted to become involved in football through initiatives like Street Leagues. It will also provide different target age groups with football activities.
“The funding will also see the delivery of specified FAI Player Development, Education and Grassroots programmes.”
The additional government funding will allow for a regional development officer who will facilitate partnership and co-ordination between the local statutory and voluntary bodies.
There will be a particular focus on the Young People’s Fund and how to maximise its involvement in the development of football in the city.
Senator Coffey said: “I was delighted to hear that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs is increasing its support for the work the FAI is carrying out on the ground in communities.
“Local workers and volunteers are providing activities which can prevent our young people getting into trouble.
“I have seen first hand the impact sport can have not just for children and young people, but on their families and neighbourhoods as exploits on the pitch become as source of local pride.
“Minister Zappone has confirmed to me that her office is, and will continue to be, a proud partner of the FAI, its community workers and volunteers.”