This week we’ve been to speak with Active Community Network about their business at Twin Spires Complex – Read on to find out more.

1. Business Name

Active Communities Network

2. Tell us about your business

Active Communities Network (ACN) is a registered charity, utilising sports, cultural and educational activities to broaden horizons, raise aspirations and offer pathways to achievement for participants within local communities. Using the mediums of sport, physical activity, arts and cultural activity, our programmes deliver grassroots activities, and promote, personal, social and community development. ACN promotes vocational training, education, citizenship and work experience as part of a wider education, training and employment network across our own and partner projects. ACN’s key focus is to deliver services to young people within socio-economically deprived communities, and address a range of social issues.

At present in Belfast and wider areas across NI we have programmes being delivered across the political spectrum in Neighbourhood renewal areas and localities with the highest social issues attributed to poverty and social exclusion.

ACN has an evidence Sport for development based approach which supports local community led youth engagement, uses sport as a medium to initially engage with young people and then offers a package of mentoring, accredited training and support to aid participants on a progression pathway based upon their needs, interests and relevant further training, education or employment opportunities.

3. Can you describe your experience of running a business in three words or less? 

 Challenging, Rewarding, Enjoyable

4. What has been your biggest success, and biggest challenge to date?

We were delighted to pick up Laureus Sport for Good Global Award winners 2018 in Monaco.

The Laureus Sport for Good Award is awarded to an organisation or individual who, in the opinion of the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, has used the power of sport to overcome violence, discrimination or disadvantage.

5. What does the future hold for your company?

Maximise outcomes for young people across Ireland and UK.

We’re so proud of everything we have achieved in Belfast over the past eight years. We set up a pilot programme in 2009 called GOALS (Generating Opportunities and Learning Through Sport), working with a small group of high risk young people in Ballymurphy and Whiterock (West Belfast)

Through sport we developed their resilience and addressed wider mental health issues, supporting them to make positive life choices. We hope to continue to make a positive impact on the lives of young people through sport.

6. How long have you been located at Twin Spires Complex and what are the benefits of / reasons for locating here?

We have been in Twin Spires Complex now since April 2016.  We moved here to bigger offices as our organisation has grown in the past few years.

7. Do you want to say anything to Ortus as it celebrates its 30th year in business?