GO FOR LIFE ISC allocates over €300,000 under Go for Life Programme

5 December 2006


“In the last six years over 3,000 grants have been allocated under this scheme to local groups of older people to increase their participation in sport and physical activity. These grants give groups greater choices about how to be more active and they are making a real difference to the quality of life of older people throughout the country.”– Minister John O’Donoghue T.D.

591 groups nationwide will share an allocation of  €330,000 under phase six of the Go for Life National Grant Scheme for Sport and Physical Activity for Older People. Mr. John O’Donoghue T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport, and Tourism, announced details of the allocations today under the Go for Life national grant scheme, which aims to help local clubs and organisations to increase opportunities for their older members to actively participate in recreational sport and a range of physical activities.

Minister O’Donoghue commented: “This Government is committed to ensuring that people of all ages can take advantage of the social, physical and psychological benefits of increased physical activity. The partnership between the Irish Sports Council and Age & Opportunity means that older people are very much on the national agenda for sport and physical activity.” 

This year over 800 applications were received from older people’s groups all over the country.  The 591 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.

Speaking at the announcement, John Treacy, Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council said: “The relationship between sports participation and good health strengthens as people age. In other words, the older you are, the more you have to gain health-wise from increasing the amount of even light physical activity you engage in.  These facts emerge in recent research commissioned by the Irish Sports Council and they highlight the importance of enabling more older people to become more active through the Go for Life programme.”

To better understand the current picture of physical activity amongst older people the Irish Sports Council and Go for Life recently commissioned a quantitative study which will provide a robust picture of awareness, attitudes and participation of older people with regard to sport and physical activity.  This research indicates that only 15 % of older people are currently taking enough exercise to stay healthy.  But it is also telling us that four in ten older people would like to be more active than they are currently able to be.

The Grant Scheme is administered by the Steering Committee of Go for Life – the National Programme for Sport and Physical Activity for Older People. Developed by the Irish Sports Council and Age & Opportunity, Go for Life is a broad national programme which aims to involve more older adults in all aspects of physical activity more often – not only participating but also planning and leading. Today’s allocation brings to €1.9 million the amount granted under this scheme to older peoples groups over the last six years.



For Further Information:
Mary Harkin, Go for Life, 01-8057733 / Ann Leahy or Sue Russell, Age & Opportunity 01-8057709
Bill O’Herlihy Communications, 01-6602744, 087-8854072

Additional Information
Go for Life has also published a range of materials designed to encourage more older adults to get involved in all aspects of sport and physical activity more often. An information pack is available free of charge from Age & Opportunity. Further details about the Go for Life Programme can be found on www.olderinireland.ie The Go for Life Steering Committee is chaired by Robert Grier (Employer Representative at the Labour Court) and is made up of representatives of the Irish Sports Council, Age & Opportunity, the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, the Federation of Active Retirement Associations, and the National Council on Ageing and Older People.


Ossie Kilkenny,Chairman, Irish Sports Council: “ The job of the Irish Sports Council is to ensure that every person has the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of playing, participating and competing in the sport of their choice, and at a level appropriate to their ability. The Go for Life Programme plays an important role in achieving this task”.

Robert Grier, Chair of the Steering Committee; “The overall aim of the Go for Life Programme is to involve more older adults in all aspects of physical activity more often.  The availability of Irish Sports Council funding allows us to carry out a range of initiatives aimed at significantly increasing older people’s involvement in all aspects of active living and recreational sport, including participation, planning and leading.”

Recipients Comments

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Sliabh Luachra area will know that dance is a big part of the local culture. So it’s no surprise that the Sliabh Luachra Active Retirement Association and the Castleisland Day Care Centre have combined their talents to plan for a Dancefest in 2007. Marcella Finn, Nurse Manager at the Day Care Centre explained, ‘we had a very successful event last year which included drama, dance, song and poetry, but next year we’re going to concentrate on dance. As soon as you put on a bit of music here, there is always someone up on the floor wanting to dance’.  Staff in the Day Care Centre have completed the PALs programme and two have taken part in Older People in Dance in Cork. Patricia Dowling who is a Community Development worker with Sliabh Luachra local development also says that their Sunday afternoon dance events are hugely popular in  rural areas . ‘Sunday can be a very lonely day for some people -  it enables people to get out and meet others of their own age, to socialise, have fun and remain independent. We’ve found also that it has encouraged  people to include more physical activity in their weekly meetings – they want to stay in shape for the dancing!’

‘We’re planning to run a Sportsfest with our Grant funding,’ said Valerie McCoy a Physical Activity Leader (PAL) with the Laragh and Glendalough District ARA. This lively and busy group are used to hosting lots of events for other active retirement groups in the surrounding areas, and decided that a Sportsfest would be a great way of revitalising PALs skills. ‘There will be indoor and outdoor activities on the day, we have short strolls as well as more serious walks, line dancing and lots of Go for Life games planned. For people who are not as mobile we also have a lovely meditation garden with lots of benches and resting points. There will be something for everyone.’

Those caring for family members will get huge benefit from the National Grant Scheme this year said Peter Leonard, Manager of the Blanchardstown Carers Resource Centre. ‘Carers have very limited opportunities for physical exercise, and these Tai Chi classes are a great way of promoting health and wellbeing as well as offering mutual support to carers.’ The Tai Chi course will also include elements of stress management and meditation so important to carers who often feel forgotten and marginalised in terms of services provided to them.