SPORT FOR OLDER PEOPLE Funding for Sport for Older People

14 Dec 2005

Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, T.D. announces details of the funding package. The value of older people participating in sport was recognised by the Irish Sports Council today through the allocation of €635,000 to facilitate the organisation and promotion of sport and physical activity for older people throughout the country.

A total of €300,000 is being allocated to community organisations nationwide while the remainder of the allocation will be used to develop and provide opportunities for older people to become involved as sports leaders in their communities.

Details of the total allocation which includes grants of between €500 and €2,500 to 541 groups engaged in organising sport and physical activity for older people were announced by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O’Donoghue, T.D.

This is the fifth year that the Irish Sports Council has made the funding available through the Age and Opportunity organisation which works to promote the participation of older people in recreational, sport and physical activity. The Irish Sports Council has now allocated a total of €1.5 million to groups working with older people since 2001.

Speaking at the announcement of the grants Minister John O’Donoghue complimented the Irish Sports Council and the Age and Opportunity organisation, which administers funding through its ‘Go for Life’ programme, for their work in putting the grant scheme in place.

“Physical activity fosters well-being and contact with other people and is the best guarantee for independent living and increasing ability to cope until late in life.  This government recognises the positive and far reaching impact of a programme such as Go for Life on the quality of life of so many people and is delighted to support the work of the Age and Opportunity organisation in partnership with the Irish Sports Council,” said Minister O’Donoghue.

Minister O’Donoghue also praised the imagination that voluntary groups throughout the country have applied to initiatives that meet the challenge of encouraging older people to participate in sports and physical activity.

Groups benefiting the allocation include the Local Area Sports Partnerships put in place by the Irish Sports Council, active retirement associations, senior citizens clubs, ICA guilds, sports clubs, day centres and community centres.  The grants are being used to buy sports equipment and to fund sport and activity programmes.

Speaking at the grants announcement, Ossie Kilkenny, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council said:  “Research conducted by the ESRI for the Irish Sports Council has shown that the relationship between sports participation and good health strengthens as people age.  Our research proves that people can improve their health considerably by engaging in sport and physical activity as they grow older in years.  This fact is one of the reasons why we are delighted to fund voluntary organisations through the Go for Life programme”.

John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, commented “This is a very important scheme for the Irish Sports Council and we are always amazed at the huge response that it receives from communities all over Ireland. The value of older people participating in sport and physical activity goes well beyond the health benefits that participants themselves enjoy from sports.  Older people who participate in sports are role models for their communities and the younger members of their families.  The example they set and their influence is an important link in encouraging young people to become involved in sport”.