PARTICIPATION Women in Sport Grant Allocation

Minister O’Donoghue: “I recognise the need to target investment in participation programmes for women. The success of the 2005 Women in Sport programme has led to the substantial increase in funding for 2006 for the wide range of innovative projects aimed at getting women of all ages physically active”.
 
The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mr John O’Donoghue T.D. announced the details of the 2006 Women in Sport initiative today, September 14, at Irishtown Stadium.

The Irish Sports Council allocated more than €2 million under the 2006 Women in Sport Grant Scheme. €1.4 million is going to 35 projects which emphasises innovative programmes designed to provide access to sport and remove the barriers that prevent women taking part in part as participants, coaches or officials. Basketball Ireland and Cumann Peil Gael na mBan received special recognition for their ongoing work for women in sport through funding totalling €620,000.

Minister O’Donoghue: “ In addition to this programme of funding for organisations which promote women's sport, I was pleased to be able to afford priority under the 2006 Sports Capital Programme to projects where it is demonstrated that there would be greater involvement of women in their particular sport through the development of facilities”.

One new and exciting project made possible by the funding is fit4life, unveiled at Irishtown by Gary Ryan, Head of Development at Athletics Ireland. The new mass participation running programme called fit4life is based on the very successful West Waterford Athletics Club’s 16-week winter league programme. It has been running since 1994 with an average of 350 participants per week.  The social element has been a strong feature of the success of the West Waterford running league.

The leagues will be run in 14 locations around the country. Clubs will hold 2 eight-week leagues from October to February. Clubs along with the Local Sport Partnerships and the AAI development Officers will be active partners to ensure the events’ success.

Tracy Piggott, Chairperson, Women in Sport Steering Group, said at the launch “Our group identified a mass participation event such as fit4life as being an important feature of the Women in Sport grant programme in 2006. AAI are using their established network and expertise to reach a whole new audience. It is an exciting programme with huge potential and the prospect of being a model for other sports”.

Minister O’Donoghue: “This year, there is special recognition of the needs of Basketball Ireland and Cumann Peil Gael na mBan, two organisations that provide quality opportunities for women to participate in sport and that require this investment to expand their range of activities”.

The funding for Basketball Ireland is designed to build on their Regional Development Officer network. There is also dedicated funding of €120,000 in 2006 to support BI’s activities as part of the European Year of Women’s Basketball.

Cumann Peil Gael na mBan received funding to assist the implementation of their Strategic Plan and to build on the success of their pilot programmes in 2005. In 2006 they have commenced a series of innovative programmes such as Gaelic4Girls, Ready…Steady…Play,  and  Ladies, Grab your Whistle.

The announcement included a major investment of €250,000 to support the FAI’s aim to fully develop the women’s game at all levels throughout the country. Their programme is fully linked with the FAI Technical Development Plan, with substantial investment in staffing.

The 2005 Women in Sport Programme was very popular with governing bodies and the grant aid received resulted in some very popular programmes notable in hockey, swimming and camogie.

Ossie Kilkenny, Chair of the Irish Sports Council: “The Minister has made available substantial funds for investment in targeted participation programmes for women. We are delighted with the range and quality of the submissions we received. It is a vote of confidence in the governing bodies and the sports partnerships that we are confident that they can make a major impact on the rate of female participation”.  

In 2006 a new Women in Sport Logo was developed as well as a Women in Sport website.  The Irish Sports Council’s Women in Sport website, www.womeninsport.ie showcases all these initiatives, informs women as to when events will be on in their areas, provides links to other sites where women can find participation opportunities, provides information on fitness and to allows them to send in their stories and photographs to be featured on the website. 

John Treacy, Chief Executive, Irish Sports Council:  “We recognise the need to provide quality and accessible opportunities in sport for women of all ages. We will be recruiting a dedicated officer to work with the sports partnerships and governing bodies to ensure that this investment will have the desired impact in this crucial area.”

End

For further information

Paul McDermott  Irish Sports Council  087-6486295
Ian McClure   O’Herlihy Communciations 01-6602744.