Age & Opportunity is today marking the distribution of its Active National Grant Scheme to support sport and physical activity among older people.
Over €7.1 million has been awarded to date. This year €317,430 is being given to support 909 organisations, including active retirement groups, sports clubs and nursing and day care centres. Activities funded range from table tennis to tai chi, walking to weight-lifting and much more.
The Grant Scheme is a combined initiative with Sport Ireland.
Minister of State with special responsibility for Sport and Physical Education, Thomas Byrne TD, said: “Today’s funding announcement is very welcome news. The Age & Opportunity Active National Grant Scheme has already had a positive impact on communities across Ireland and has contributed towards improving the opportunities for older people to get involved in sports and physical activity.”
By financially supporting organisations to buy equipment and host courses specifically designed for older people, the grant helps older people reap the health benefits of being active.
Examples include a ‘Bat and Chat’ table tennis programme for older people in Miltown, Co Westmeath; a ‘Learn to Row’ camp with Tribesmen Rowers Club, which has many older rowers, in Galway; and a Boxercise course organised by Castleblayney Boxing Club, Co Monaghan.
Speaking about the grant, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland Dr Úna May commented: “By assisting with funding, we play a small part in providing better opportunities in our communities for our older generation to improve their physical and mental health through taking part in physical activity. Age & Opportunity is doing a wonderful job and I also want to acknowledge our own national network of Local Sports Partnerships who together do wonderful work in communities across the country.”
Karen Horgan, CEO of Age & Opportunity, welcomed the ongoing partnership with Sport Ireland.
“Today’s grant funding is helping us create an Ireland where more older people are more active and more connected. We are delighted to note the number of successful applications from sports clubs who are seeing an increase in the numbers of older people joining their activities. Indeed many of them are specifically organising courses to cater for an older cohort.”
“We are also delighted that this year 281 successful applications were from designated disadvantaged areas. In addition, there were 50 successful applications from nursing homes and 59 from day care centres.”
Of today’s funding allocations, grants were awarded to 18 Sports Partnerships, 148 sports clubs, 190 Irish Countrywomen’s Association Guilds, 199 Active Retirement Associations, 26 Men’s sheds and 6 Women’s sheds.
Every year approximately 30,000 older people take part in physical activity funded by the Grant Scheme. Activities funded include archery, rowing, dancing, cycling, clay pigeon shooting, kayaking, GAA and mountain biking.
The Grant Scheme is part of Age & Opportunity’s Active programme, funded by Sport Ireland, and delivered nationwide with the support of the HSE and Local Sports Partnerships.