Independent Review of Urban Outdoor Adventure Initiatives

12 Aug 2022
Stephen Walsh

Independent review of Urban Outdoor Adventure Initiatives highlights the positive impact on communities around Ireland

Sport Ireland undertook an independent evaluation of the Urban Outdoor Adventure Initiative (UOAI), for which funding was provided by Sport Ireland through the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF) in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The purpose of this evaluation is to identify to what extent Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) have rolled out the Initiative and see if they have been successful in their aims.

This report presents an evaluation of the delivery and impact of the UOAI over the three years of funding in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to the LSPs in Counties Carlow, Cork, Donegal, Dublin City, Fingal, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Offaly, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath and Wexford.

The findings show that the LSP’s have a very strong local network of partners, an awareness of their disparate community sports needs and have demonstrated the capacity to deliver meaningful interventions.

The UOAIs demonstrated a strong partnership interaction and networking with local partners and some national bodies. A number of the UOAIs had a positive deep impact on individuals and a positive impact on targeted communities.

A number of UOAIs undertook and delivered their initiatives based on a targeted needs analysis. The overall visibility, accessibility, appreciation and participation in local urban adventure sports has increased as a direct result of the UOAIs.

Adventure sports clubs and some local youth organisations have increased their capacity through the availability of additional UOAI equipment and networking supports.

Fidelity was significantly impacted in most of the 2019 initiatives due to the effects of COVID 19 restrictions. Fidelity would also have been enhanced in a small number of Initiatives through a more robust needs analysis and evaluation procedure.

The UOAIs will benefit from additional clarity regarding the Reach process. There are specific challenges relating to adventure sports and the Well Trained People and Sustainability outcomes, especially for individuals with a disability.

The UOAI must focus on disadvantaged communities or people with a disability.

From the report, it has been distinguished that the UOAI focus on adventure sports has been effective at two levels.

  1. Increasing the visibility, opportunity and participation in adventure sports as a mechanism for recreation with the resulting enjoyment, health and wellbeing effects that this participation brings. This has been achieved by strengthening existing provision through training, equipment and programmes/animation.
  2. Providing change opportunities for individuals and their communities through adventure sports. This has been achieved via clear agendas, targeted interventions, diverse partnerships and ongoing oversight.


The UOAI process is a positive step in the direction of bringing adventure into the urban space and beyond the middle classes. However, there remains considerable scope to increase the recreational and personal change potential of adventure sports in Irish urban settings.

To read the summary report please click here: summary_V2 (