A total of 1,118 groups across Ireland are celebrating the awarding of grants to fund physical activity for older people (over 50). The Go for Life National Grant Scheme from Age & Opportunity and Sport Ireland today announced grants totalling almost €300,000.
The aim of the grants is to improve the health and wellbeing of older people across the country by providing them with opportunities to engage in physical activity and sport. Groups benefitting this year include Men’s Sheds, ICA guilds, Active Retirement Groups, Local Sports Partnerships, Sports Clubs, Family Resources Centres and many others who provide older people with opportunities to get active.
Announcing the successful grantees at the Ballybough Community Centre, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD, said:
‘Over the last seventeen years the National Grant Scheme funding has supported and empowered thousands of groups of older people to get more active more often and the record number of applications this year shows the continued importance of the scheme for groups throughout the country. Programmes like Go for Life, funded by Sport Ireland, will help us reach the targets set out in the National Physical Activity Plan and approximately 30,000 people nationwide will take part in the activities funded by the grants. The success of this scheme shows what can be achieved with a small investment and the importance of funding sport and physical activity, at any age.’
Speaking at the launch, John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland said:
"Sport Ireland is delighted to partner with Age & Opportunity’s Go for Life Programme to support participation among older people in recreational sport activities. One of the key strategic objectives of Sport Ireland is increasing participation and initiatives such as this are a great way of encouraging people to get out and get active regardless of age or fitness level. I want to congratulate and acknowledge the groups themselves, and our own national network of Local Sports Partnerships, who continue to provide opportunities for older people to participate in sport and physical activity”.
Karen Smyth, CEO of Age & Opportunity commented: “The benefits of sport and physical activity are numerous, from the obvious health benefits to the increasingly important social benefits of inclusion and relationship-building. The Go for Life Programme and the Grant Scheme are helping to get more older people more active, more often and we are delighted to be support local groups to engage in such a wide variety of activities, demonstrating the richness of the ageing experience nationwide.”
The Grant Scheme is part of Age & Opportunity’s Go for Life programme, funded by Sport Ireland and delivered nationally with the support of Local Sports Partnerships and the HSE. The goal of the grants scheme is to encourage older people to get involved in sport and physical activity in their communities and the funds allocated are used by groups to buy equipment, run sports events or to try new activities. The record number of applications shows the importance of the scheme for groups throughout the country
Over €5.5million has been awarded in almost 12,000 grants during its lifetime. This year saw a record number of applications and of grants awarded and the number of groups applying continues to grow since the launch of the National Grant Scheme in 2001.