Sanctuary Runners, the solidarity through sport movement which was first established in Cork three years ago, has recorded exceptional benefits for members of the initiative.
An Impact Study complied by the Sanctuary Runner organisation found a number of positive reasons in taking part in the movement.
The organisation, which describes itself as a non-political positive movement took stock of how being a part of Sanctuary Runners had impacted the lives of members.
85 % of respondents who are in Direct Provision say the initiative has helped them feel welcome in Ireland while 74% of 'Irish' members had never spoken to a Direct Provision resident before joining the Sanctuary Runners 52% of Irish Sanctuary Runners did not know where the nearest Direct Provision centre was located before joining and 81% of Irish respondents said they have forged friendships with Direct Provision residents through the Sanctuary Runners.
As well as this, 61% of members within Direct Provision felt the Sanctuary Runners had improved their fitness levels and again 61% felt their mental health had improved as a result of membership and 42 % of Sanctuary Runners currently in the Direct Provision system had never run before.
Founder of the Sanctuary Runners Graham Clifford, said: "For the first time in nearly three years we've had time to catch our breath and analyse the impact of this movement and of sport as a tool for social inclusion.
“The findings are overwhelming and tell us a few things, first that running and walking together can have a massive impact on social inclusion across all in society and that we must do things 'with' rather than 'for' people to make a long-lasting sustainable impact based on mutual respect.
“It also tells us that not enough initiatives like this exist in Ireland, initiatives that literally bring people together. And it tells us that Ireland is full of sound, decent, caring and justice-orientated people who, given the chance, will do what they can to share solidarity, friendship and respect with others.”