Following on from the successful trip to North Macedonia in September, where NI Volleyball delegates attended this year’s CEV Coaches Convention, the CEV School Project has continued to build momentum in Northern Ireland.
October was spent re-engaging with the 25 schools registered to take part in the project prior to the COVID-19 restrictions and subsequent lockdowns. Discussions have taken place with the staff at Causeway Coast and Glens Council as how they can continue to support Northern Ireland Volleyball in assisting the schools with their development. The plan will also see council staff assisting teachers with session delivery if required and provide Northern Ireland Volleyball with free facilities should they be needed for blitz events or training opportunities. This council partnership/support model is key to progressing this project especially since Northern Ireland Volleyball does not have any employed staff to deploy and relies heavily on volunteers.
The next target will be to initiate the conversations with an additional council area to become the 2nd hub of the Northern Ireland Schools Project.
October also coincided with the commencement of the NI Volleyball youth leagues. The CEV School Project will act as a solid foundation by developing more players from younger age groups and support the transition from school volleyball to club volleyball. NI Volleyball have been working at board level with Sport NI to develop a junior section in many of the local clubs. These junior clubs will be vital to offer appropriate exit routes for the children participating in the CEV School Project so that they can continue into a more structured environment and therefore grow the numbers with Volleyball in Northern Ireland.
November will see continued development work with the original 25 schools and teachers along with additional planning for further growth in 2023.