In December, a total of 117 groups in Cork, including a number from West Cork, were awarded grants to fund physical activity for older people (aged over 50). The Go for Life Grant Scheme from Age and Opportunity and Sport Ireland awarded over €31,000 to groups around Cork. These grants are aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of older people across the country by providing them with opportunities to engage in physical activity and sport. Grant recipients include Active Retirement Groups, ICA guilds, 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 Desmond Complex, Newcastle West, in Limerick, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan TD, said: “The National Physical Activity Plan, launched early in 2016, sets an ambitious target to get half a million people more active within ten years. Programmes like Go for Life and the National Grant Scheme will help us reach this target by supporting and empowering older people to get active. The fact that approximately 30,000 people will take part in the activities funded by the grants shows what results can be achieved with a small investment and the record number of applications shows the continued importance of the scheme for local groups throughout the country.’
Just a few of the successful groups in West Cork included Macroom Community Hospital, Castlehaven / Union Hall ARA, Bantry Respite Service, Rehab care, RehabCare Physical and Sensory Resource Centre, RehabCare Physical and Sensory Resource Centre (Outreach Centre), RehabCare Day Resource Centre Bantry, Innishannon ICA, and Kilmeen / Castleventry ARA.
Karen Smyth, CEO of Age and Opportunity, outlines the importance of providing opportunities for older people to engage in sport and physical activity: “Research shows us that physical activity improves mental and physical wellbeing as well as providing opportunities for social networking. Through our Go for Life Programme and the Grant Scheme we are helping get more older people, more active, more often. Those participating in the Games today are testament to the impact these grants have in local communities, empowering older people to keep fit and healthy on their own terms. The variety of groups who apply and the activities they are engaged in demonstrates the richness and variety of the ageing experience in Ireland.”
The Grant Scheme is part of Age and Opportunity’s Go for Life programme, and is funded by Sport Ireland and delivered nationally with the support of the Local Sports Partnerships and the HSE. The goal of the 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. Now in its sixteenth year, it has so far awarded over €5million in almost 12,000 grants during its lifetime. Applications have increased each year since the launch of the National Grant Scheme in 2001. 2016 saw a record number of applications and a record number of grants awarded. Twenty-seven per cent of successful applications were from designated disadvantaged areas.