Above: Youth Worker Natalie Corbett alongside Young MMA Coach Jack Corr
The reach of MMA’s grass roots in Northern Ireland has made an inspiring connection with local community, taking the sport into the realm of funded youth work and providing opportunity for the nation’s youngsters.
Meet the first ever Youth Worker employed to work directly in the field of MMA, Natalie Corbett. This ground breaking appointment has been made even more special by the fact that the appointment is female, one of the most underrepresented groups in MMA and sport in general.
Comic Relief has came on board to support and fund two salaries for the Fight to Unite MMA programme, the brainchild of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum Director Chris Quinn and member of IMMAFs Coaching Commission and Danny Corr of the Ulster Amateur MMA Association, Northern Ireland’s official representative to the IMMAF .
The Fight to Unite programme combines the best aspect of MMA with a relentless youth work programme woven together to form a tapestry of individual and group development, building resilience, enhancing capacity and self confidence, creating pathways to employment, creating young leaders and supporting participants through holistic, mental health and emotional wellbeing.
The programme has employed two Young People to spearhead the programme for the next two years; a Young MMA Coach, amateur MMA competitor and international IMMAF Championships veteran Jack Corr, and Natalie, a Young Professional Youth Worker.
The Ulster’s Amateur MMA Association’s Danny Corr is delighted with the first of these appointments: “I cannot express how pleased I am that years of work are paying off and the programme I have helped develop is now coming to fruition. I am also delighted that the Northern Ireland Youth Forum has appointed a young professional female into this role, this can only be good for the sport and those young people that will come into it in the future, my hope is that this programme can be emulated worldwide among the IMMAF family and beyond.”
Natalie Corbett is a 31-year-old full-time Youth Worker who has been involved in the sector for the last 14 years. She has been the catalyst behind many new outreach youth programmes taking groups of youths to Germany and Poland and is passionate about the rights of young people. Natalie is also studying for a degree in youth work at the University of Ulster; “I am delighted to be appointed to this post, it is so unique and exciting and I believe there is nothing like it anywhere, we will be not only helping many young people but we will be giving them something that will sustain them throughout their careers and lives.”