Odyssey Ice Academy: Belfast Giants supporting programme

(PHOTO: William Cherry/Press Eye)

The Odyssey Ice Academy has resumed for a fourth time offering 15 young people the opportunity to learn new skills.

Launched in 2018 the Ice Academy provides opportunities for young people with challenging backgrounds.

Those who have been in care or suffered with mental health challenges are given the chance to learn new skills.

Over the course of three months these people will develop key practices through ice sessions with the Giants.

They will also receive ‘off the ice’ training in communications, fitness, volunteering and more.

They will then graduate as Community Giants-class of 2021/2022.

The Odyssey Trust and Department for Communities fund the initiative as part of the Executive’s Together: Building a United Community Strategy.

Include Youth

A partner to this is Include Youth a charity who focus on helping people with difficult backgrounds.

They offer support to young people who have experienced everything from social exclusion to abuse.

The Belfast Giants will coach these people through Include Youth’s Give and Take scheme.

The Giants’ community outreach partner Belfast Harbour supports the Odyssey Ice Academy as one of many programmes.

Assistant Coach for the Giants; Jeff Mason, said: “It has been a pleasure to be a part of the Odyssey Ice Academy since we first started it back in 2018. Since then, we have brought young people from across Belfast and its surrounding areas together to access skills that will help further their future”.

The hope with this project is that these people can become more employable and gain valuable skills for further life.

Paddy Mooney, Director of Include Youth, said: “The Odyssey Ice Academy is something that the young people of Include Youth look forward too and it’s fantastic to see it return for 2022”.

With progress on a new shared building for Include Youth underway the future looks bright for both them and the Belfast Giants.

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