Age & Opportunity announces physical activity funding for older people in Westmeath

Age & Opportunity is this week marking the distribution of its Active National Grant that provides significant funding for sport and physical activity amongst older people.

The Grant Scheme is a combined initiative from Age & Opportunity and Sport Ireland. This year it is providing €3,600 to 11 groups in Westmeath. 

Nationwide €317,430 is being awarded to 909 organisations, ranging from active retirement groups to sports clubs and nursing and day care centres.

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. As a Government, we want to see older people helped to be more active and this year’s funding will support sports clubs, Irish Countrywomen’s Association Guilds, and Active Retirement Associations in meeting that goal.”

Financial Support

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 Milltown, 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: “We are delighted to continue our support of the Age & Opportunity National Grant Scheme which continues to be an important asset to local communities. 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. The ongoing work has been a great success to date. Age & Opportunity is doing a wonderful job and we are delighted to show our support once again. 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. The renewed focus on providing meaningful activities in these settings is particularly welcome given the impact that Covid has had on older people in these settings.”

Westmeath Groups

The successful Westmeath groups are:

Brownstown Camogie Club

Milltown Table Tennis Club

Athlone Athletics Club

Cairde Active Retirement (T/A Killucan Area Services CLG)

Mullingar GAA Handball

Muiriosa Foundation

Mullingar Golf Club

Bunbrosna/ Multyfarnham /Ballinafid ARA

Athboy ICA

Tyrrellspass (Forever Friends) ARA

Castlepollard ICA

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, mountain biking, table tennis, tai chi, walking and weight-lifting.

For a snapshot of the Age & Opportunity Active National Grant Scheme’s impact on people’s health and well-being watch our video below:

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.