“A Whole New Experience”: An Evaluation of Fresh Start Through Sport 2022-23

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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In September 2022, Ulster University (UU) was commissioned by the Irish Football Association (IFA) on behalf of the Department for Communities to continue its evaluation of the Fresh Start Through Sport (FSTS) programme for the 2022-23 delivery period. This report builds upon the evaluation of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 iteration of Fresh Start Through Sport. The evaluation was supported by public agencies, community organisations, the Irish Football Association (IFA), and their sporting partners, namely the Belfast Giants, Ulster Rugby, and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Facilitators and organisers from these groups provided guidance on the evaluation’s direction and took part in in-depth semi-structured interviews. Young people who participated in the Fresh Start Through Sport programme also contributed to the evaluation by sharing their experiences in focus groups. The core research team consisted of Dr Brendan Coyle, Dr Conor Murray and Dr Colm Walsh.

This report delves into each of these objectives, highlighting examples of good practice, identifying potential areas for improvement, and proposing a series of recommendations to inform future iterations of the programme.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyIrish Football Association Foundation
Number of pages55
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Oct 2023


  • youth
  • sports-based interventions
  • sport and communities
  • youth participation


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