Sport Ireland’s Active Cities project is based on the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan for Physical Activity (GAPPA), which is focused on getting those who are least active, active. This project is being funded through Dormant Accounts Funding, which aims to engage communities across the country by supporting those who are educationally, socially or economically disadvantaged or those who have a disability to become more active.
The project is being delivered across the 5 largest cities in the Republic of Ireland (Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick & Waterford) and is being facilitated through 8 Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs). This project will seek to ensure that there is cross-sector buy-in to the need for Active Cities, that the voices of the most inactive are heard, and that there is strategic input from all relevant stakeholders in the development of local physical activity strategies and plans.
Internationally, the Active Well-being initiative has developed the Global Active City label, which supports cities with improving the lives of their citizens, through guidance on how to best manage and promote physical activity, sport and well-being for all, and providing recognition for those cities who achieve it. Sport Ireland’s Active Cities project will be the foundation and stepping stone for these 5 cities to potentially achieve Global Active City recognition in the future.
An Active City:
- Prioritises physical activity for all so that it becomes a social norm, that is built into people's home, work and community lives.
- Seeks to increase the number of active spaces throughout the city and provide equal access and opportunity for all to take part.
The vision of Active Cities is to engage, maintain and increase the number of citizens, regardless of age and ability, participating in sport and physical activity.
The mission of Active Cities is to create the opportunity for citizens to lead healthier lifestyles in the context of sport and physical activity.
4 Key Pillars
Based on the GAPPA framework, the project is focused across 4 key pillars – Active Systems, Active Environments, Active Societies and Active People.
The Need for Active Cities
In Ireland, only 42% of adults and 13% of children met the National Physical Activity Guidelines in 2021. Inactivity itself is only part of the issue – the real problem is the impact inactivity is having on our society as a whole. Physical inactivity negatively impacts the health, economy, environment and community of our cities.
Given that over 33% of the Irish population live across these 5 cities, there is a clear need to establish an Active Cities project in Ireland. If we don’t have active cities, we won’t have healthy or competitive cities, and the issue will continue to grow.
There are many organisations trying to get people active for different reasons – some to improve health, more to reduce sedentary behaviour, while others are focused on reducing congestion and air pollution. Ultimately, we all want to get people more active and there is a clear need for collaboration to ensure greater impact of effort and resources, and to increase the likelihood of sustainability - that people get involved, get active, but then sustain their participation.
Who needs to be involved if we are to enable our cities to become ‘Active Cities’?
The successful delivery of this project will require collaboration, partnership and planning to ensure best uses are made of resources in city spaces to enhance the opportunity and choice available to all it’s residents to be physically active.
Whilst LSPs are responsible for coordinating the project, they are only one facilitator of many who need to be involved to make the project a success. Other key facilitators will be local Community and Voluntary Groups - representing those from areas of economic, educational or social deprivation; minority groups; or people with disabilities, as well as Local Authority Units i.e. Urban Planning; Transport; Community Development; Housing; Operations; Parks & Recreation; Active Travel; Age Friendly; Events/Tourism and many others.
For any further details on the Active Cities project, please contact Mary Corry, National Active Cities Officer.
Or contact your local Active Cities officer below: