Athletics NI's Youth Academy Secures Erasmus+ Funding for 2019

10 August 2018

Athletics NI

Having successfully delivered an Erasmus+ programme for Youth Academy athletes in Portugal  in 2017 Athletics NI are now delighted to announce further funding for 2019.


Coach Development Lead & Erasmus+ Project Manager for 2019 Laura Kerr explains: “Athletics NI were delighted our 2017 Youth Academy project was recognised as an example of good practice in the EU and appreciate the valuable contribution made by Erasmus+ in preparing young athletes and their coaches for Commonwealth Youth & Senior Games, European U23 Championships and World Junior Championships.”


‘The new funding for 2019 will support a minimum of 24 Youth Academy Athletes, 4 staff members and 6 additional coaches/support personnel to travel to Portugal in April 2019 to undertake a 2 week programme.’


The 2017 project delivered by Athletics NI in partnership with the Algarve Athletic Association, at Alfamar in Portugal, enabled NI athletes to share learning with Portuguese and international athletes  focusing on physical and technical preparation, performance behaviours and mindset skills required to progress in international athletics.


“The Erasmus+ project provided emerging athletes with an opportunity to experience what is required to live, train and compete as a full time athlete. It also provided a vehicle to professionally develop coaches for the benefit of athletics in Northern Ireland in line with Athletics NI's vision of nurturing talent to produce future high performance athletes.”


Demonstrating the success of the previous Erasmus+ project just fifteen months on, seven of the coaches involved have progressed to coach athletes to the Commonwealth Games, World Para Championships or Commonwealth Youth Games. Furthermore, four of the young athletes involved competed at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas securing 2 Gold medals with others breaking onto the international stage at the European U23, World Junior & World Junior Para Championships.  Most recently Sommer Lecky secured a Silver medal at the World Junior Championships whilst Craig Newell & Davicia Patterson have been named in the Irish Athletics Senior Team for the European Championships in Berlin. 


Tom Reynolds who jointly managed the project in 2017 said: “Athletics in Northern Ireland is thriving and in order for our talented youth athletes to transition to senior international athletics we must continue to support them to develop performance behaviours and work with integrated support teams whilst exposing them to international environments. As we enter the 2022 Commonwealth Games cycle, I am delighted that our innovative approach to seeking financial support for youth development has again paid off.”


Athletics NI plan to build upon the success of the previous project to maximise the benefit for participating athletes and coaches. New training methods and/ or approaches to youth development will be widely disseminated across Athletics in Northern Ireland.


Athletics NI staff will advertise this opportunity to new Youth Academy Athletes and Coaches in the coming months, following which an athlete selection and coach recruitment process will take place.


For more information about funding opportunities visit, or use the hashtag #epluspeople to see what other projects are doing across the UK.

For more information about the project please contact:

Laura Kerr /  /  07752663174  /  Twitter  @laurakerrani  /


About Erasmus+

Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020. It significantly increases EU funding (+40%) with an overall budget of €14.7 billion (£12 billion) for the development of knowledge and skills and aims to increase the quality and relevance of qualifications and skills. Two-thirds of its funding will provide grants for more than 4 million people to study, train, gain work experience or volunteer abroad in 2014-2020 (compared with 2.7 million in 2007-2013). The period abroad can range from a few days up to a year. In the UK, it is expected that nearly 250,000 people will undertake activities abroad with the programme. Erasmus+ aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe. It is open to education, training, youth and sport organisations across all sectors of Lifelong Learning, including schools education, further and higher education, adult education and the youth sector. Erasmus+ provides funding for organisations to offer opportunities to students, teachers, apprentices, volunteers, youth leaders and people working in grassroots’ sport. It will also provide funding for partnerships between organisations such as educational institutions, youth organisations, enterprises, local and regional authorities and NGOs, as well as support for reforms in Member States to modernise education and training and to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability.


The programme is managed in the UK by the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, which is a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK.

Further information from

Twitter: @erasmusplusuk

Facebook: ukerasmusplus