Older people’s sports grants of €300,000

Encouragement from the Government for Older people to take a more active part in sports than simply watching on TV or playing FIFA 2011 on the Wii! And good news it is too in these difficult financial times for the ‘young at heart’.

“Thousands of older people are more active because of Go for Life Grants” according to Minister Michael Ring. A total of 906 older groups nationwide will share a sports allocation of €300,000. The Irish Sports Council is awarding the money under the eleventh Go for Life National Grant Scheme for Sport and Physical Activity for Older People.The Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, announced details of the allocations in Castlebar. The grants help local clubs and organisations to increase opportunities for their older members in recreational sport and physical activities.

This year, over 1,000 applications were received from older people’s groups all over the country. The successful applicants include active retirement associations, senior citizens clubs, ICA guilds, sports clubs, Local Sports Partnerships, day centres and community centres in 26 counties. The grant aid is being used to buy sports equipment and to fund sport and activity programmes.

Making the announcement, Minister Ring said “Last year, over 28,000 people participated in physical activity directly funded by this grant scheme. People are staying more physically active and as a result improving their social, mental and physical well-being. This can lead to substantial savings in health and long-term care costs. The grants announced are used by communities across the country to promote physical activity for older people. That certainly is a welcome prospect for older people, particularly in rural areas, to get involved in their locality and feel a lot less isolated.”

Speaking at the announcement, John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council said: “Now, more than ever, people need encouragement and engagement. Go for Life has proven over the last ten years to be very effective in persuading older people to become physically active. It has engaged with groups and communities as well as highlighting all the benefits of an active lifestyle to thousands of older people.”

Robert Grier, Chairman of the Go for Life Steering Committee acknowledged the support of the Irish Sports Council for the programme and pointed out that Go for Life’s volunteer network of over 1000 Physical Activity Leaders or PALs are the backbone of the programme and were celebrated earlier in the year at Go for Life’s tenth birthday party.

Go for Life is an Age & Opportunity initiative which is funded by the Irish Sports Council. At the announcements, Ann Leahy, Assistant CEO of Age & Opportunity pointed out that “Increasing physical activity among older people can lead to substantial savings in health spending. The Go for Life programme is an excellent demonstration of how modest amounts spent on prevention can save money in the long run while promoting more engaged local communities.”


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