Laois Sports Partnership Celebrating 10 Years

Over the past 10 years Laois Sports Partnership has established itself as an important entity, by both providing information and assistance to people throughout the county on sports and physical activity and by delivering a large amount of activity programmes.

Over the past 10 years Laois Sports Partnership has established itself as an important entity, by both providing information and assistance to people throughout the county on sports and physical activity and by delivering a large amount of activity programmes.

Some of these have been provided by the office of the LSP directly, and others, through the various agencies involved in the partnership process. These programmes are designed to promote sport and physical activity among the general population, target groups and ages; they include our Buntús Programme for primary and pre-schools, Sports Hall Athletics Programme, Basketball Programme and Be Active After School programme for primary schools, Teenscene Programme & Body Conditioning Programme for Secondary Schools and Go for Life Programme for older adults as well as training and education programmes such as Code of Ethics, Active Leadership, National Governing Bodies coaching course and our Community Coaching Programme.

As well as running these programmes, we have assisted 215 clubs and organisations directly with funding. Through our Sports and Physical Activity Grants Scheme we have distributed €122,256 since 2002. This includes 40 schools who received €18,215, €32,515 was distributed between 53 Community Groups and €71,526 distributed through 122 sports clubs.

Our Sports Inclusion Disability Programme saw 450 people with disabilities participate in a variety of sports and physical activity programmes such as Tandem Cycling, Wheelchair Basketball, Boccia, Soccer, Badminton, Basketball, Athletics, Junior Multi Activity Club, Spinning and Inclusive Leisure initiatives.

As well as our on-going training and activity programmes, we co-ordinate and deliver special events locally. In 2012 we delivered a diverse range of projects throughout the county such as our Go For Life, Physical Activity Day which saw 80 older adults participate in a fantastic social day based around physical activity. Our Health is Happiness programme promoting health wellbeing over 10 weeks saw 25 participants, assisted Laois Community Forum in Laois Connects promoting Mental Health Wellbeing which saw 120 people attend Dr. Eddie’s talk “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body. In association with Leinster GAA “Your Games, Your Health” with special guest Michael Duigan and GAA President Mr. Liam O’Neill and to end the Laois Connect week on a high note we organised a walk led by Dr. Eddie in Emo Court with over 250 people partaking. This year saw a huge increase in numbers for the annual Operation Transformation Walk with over 600 walkers which is scheduled again for 2013 on January 19th.

We work in partnership with local clubs to increase participation in sport, such as Portlaoise Athletic Club, Oughaval Athletic Club in Meet & Train events and supported their Beat the Barge 5k and Street of Portlaoise 5k. We also assist meet ‘n’ spin training and supported Ossory Cycling Club which is a newly formed cycle club in Laois and supported their 50k and 100k cycle event.

We assisted Laois Walks Festival with over 1500 people taking part in walks across Laois. As part of National Bike Week we hosted events such as Come and Try Tandem Cycling and a Family Fun Cycle in Durrow promoting the new cycling trails.

Sport and Physical Activity play a big part in the lives of the people in County Laois and the growth of participation is evident through the numbers who are now walking, jogging and running all across the county. We would like to acknowledge all our Board members past and present, our staff, CE workers, TÚS workers and volunteers for their assistance in the delivery of our programmes and we look forward to the next 10 years increasing our role as the lead agency for sports participation in County Laois.


New Strategic Plan launched

The Board of Laois Sports Partnership officially launched its third strategy at the bi-monthly Board meeting on 3rd December. Chairperson Ms. Patricia Cullen was delighted to present the Company’s new Strategic Plan 2012-2016. She said “this plan has been developed following an extensive consultation and review process of the 2007-2012 strategic plan. The feedback for the review has been extremely positive and highlights the professional approach to sports development being implemented by the Board and LSP staff.

It is also very significant that the review identified, that despite the significant economic downturn during the delivery of the 2007 – 2012 strategic plan, LSP has adhered to it’s mission and ethos and together with its partner organizations has formulated, promoted, delivered, assisted and co-ordinated an annual programme of activities at key locations throughout County Laois.

Sports and physical activity play a big part in the lives of people in County Laois and the growth of participation is evident through the numbers who are now walking, jogging and running all across the county. The challenge now for the LSP is to attract those who do not take part in sports by providing appropriate access to both established and “alternative” sports as well as recreation and physical activity.

It is also now more imperative than ever with changing economic circumstances, rising lifestyle health issues and the population growth of the county that Laois Sports Partnership continues to grow its strategic capacity and reinforce our role as the lead agency for sports participation in Co. Laois.

Ms. Cullen thanked the Board members whom support the governance of the organisation and to the Co-ordinator Caroline Myers, Roísín Lawlor (Administrator) and Garrett Culliton (Disability Officer) of the Laois Sports Partnership for their enthusiasm and dedication to the programme.

On a final note Ms. Cullen “thanked the Irish Sports Council and our partner agencies for their ongoing support and commitment to Laois Sports Partnership. I am confident that while the plan provides significant challenges, it will enable the Laois Sports Partnership to continue on in a positive and productive manner to ensure the implementation of the visions and goals of LSP”.

Xcessible - “Inclusive Outdoors Initiative”

The Department of Justice and Equality provided funding for the CARA Adapted Physical Activity Centre, a collaborative venture between IT Tralee and the Irish Sports Council to run a programme of inclusion for people with disabilities in sport. The initiative was run in partnership with the Sports Inclusion Disability Programme in the Local Sports Partnerships in each county to improve opportunities and quality of provision of sporting activities for people with disabilities.

Over 50 people participated in our outdoors activity day celebrating International Disability Awareness Day, December 3rd. Participants enjoyed a leisurely stroll with leaders from Portlaoise Walking and Social Club, Outdoor Gym demonstration which the participants all tried out and instruction on Nordic Walking Poles by Valerie Case.

The aim of the initiative was to heighten the awareness of the benefits of an active healthy lifestyle and participation opportunities for people with a disability within the outdoor environment. The aim also was to promote positive mental health among people with disabilities through inclusive outdoor activities.

Despite the cold weather it was great to see such a big crowd turn out. Everyone certainly bought into the moto for the day ‘GET UP, WRAP UP & GET OUT’!

Thanks to all the staff and clients from all the centres and to our Volunteers on the day.


Community Coaching Participants awarded for their achievement

Congrats to the 15 participants Martin Dwane, Martin Greene, Michael Dwane, Martin Lawless, Colm Doheny, Gavin Gorman, Peter Dobbyn, Ger Campbell, Mark Downey, Jimmy Walsh, Gavin Whelan, David Fitzpatrick, Thomas Kane, Marco Pessanha and Eugene Hickey whom completed our Community Coaching Programme on 5th December. There was great excitement as participants received certificates for Athletics, Soccer, GAA and Rugby which were presented by Slyvia Rouget Laois Partnership, Nichole Dunphy FAI, Ciaran Muldowney Laois GAA and Maurice Logue IRFU Leinster Branch. A certificate of achievement was also presented as a momentum of the course. The participants will seek work experience early in the New Year to complete this programme. Laois Sports Partnership would like to thank all our partners agencies Health Service Executive, Department of Social Protection, Laois Partnership, Laois VEC and Laois County Council whom without, this programme would not have happened. A special thanks also to our colleagues from the National Governing Bodies for assisting delivery and all their support.

The aim of the course was to:-

1.Provide those who are currently unemployed with the opportunity to participate in a structured and fully supported sports & physical activity coaching programme. Whereby they receive qualifications which may aid their employability.

2.Develop a Community Coaching Programme which links the needs of agencies, organisations, community/voluntary groups with the skills and qualifications of those undertaking the programme.

3.Encourage agencies/clubs to examine what opportunities they maybe able to provide to the programme participants once they have completed the Community Coaching Programme. Develop a database of suitably qualified coaches which can be used to employ coaches on a sessional basis.

4.Provide programme participants with training and education at an appropriate level to their needs and previous experience.

If interested in participating in this programme in 2013 please contact us on 057 8671248 or email

The National Grant Scheme for Older Adults launched with Physical Activity Report

A third of older people are fooling themselves about getting active

A third of people over 50 in Ireland still mistakenly believe that housework and gardening will keep them fit.

One third of people over 50 still believe that housework and gardening is the only exercise they need. This is according to a new report, “Physical Activity & Sport 2011: Participation and Attitudes of Older People in Ireland” launched on Thursday 29th November by Go for Life, the national programme for sport and physical activity for older people, and the Irish Sports Council. The Ipsos MRBI report is the third in a series which tracks older Irish people’s physical activity levels and their attitudes to getting active.

At the same time, the report also discovered that the number of older people who could be classed as ‘high activity’ has risen to 27%. ‘Highly active’ adults are achieving at least the national guidelines on physical activity in Ireland, if not significantly more than that.

While the numbers of people classified as ‘low activity’ are decreasing, the report found that those people are more likely to have misconceptions about how much activity they need. All adults, regardless of age, actually require 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week, in line with the national guidelines.

Go for Life’s Programme Director, Mary Harkin, highlights the problem in reaching those ‘low activity’ people: “Changing attitudes is one of the hardest things to do. Older people often had a poor experience of sport in school or few opportunities to participate. This can affect their participation now and have a damaging effect on their health into the future. Go for Life tackles those negative attitudes with positive and fun experiences.”

The report also found that many people are achieving their ‘30 minutes a day’ simply through walking. Apart from that, the most popular activities for older people were cycling, dancing, golf, swimming and aerobics. Walking was also proving to be a ‘first step’ into getting active in other ways. The report recommends that there is also plenty of scope to promote activities like yoga, aqua aerobics, pilates and bowls. 

Go for Life is launching the report along with an announcement of the annual Small Grant Scheme allocation. The grant scheme is a joint initiative between Go for Life and the Irish Sports Council. It funds groups and clubs who cater for older people around the country so that they can buy equipment, run sports events or try new activities. Over the past eleven years, the scheme has awarded almost €4million in nearly 8,000 grants. This year, the allocation of €285,000 will benefit 872 groups across the country. Laois received €6,435 in grants to the following 18 older adults groups Portarlington ARA, Rathdowney ARA, 50+ Active Age Group ARA, Ballyroan ICA, Vicarstown ARA, Abbeyleix ARG, Killanure ICA, Clonad ICA, Spink ICA, Castletown ICA, Abbeyleix ICA, Durrow ARA, Graiguecullen & District ARA, Clonaslee ICA, Abbey Bowls, Portlaoise ICA, Mountmellick ARA, Laois Sports Partnership.

“From our own research, we know that the Small Grant Scheme increases participation by older people in groups and clubs, making physical activity a core part of their programmes. Older people are getting more active and, from what we see on the ground, we’re confident that we will have more good news in the next survey.” said Harkin.

The Ipsos MRBI research surveyed a representative sample of 1,002 people over the age of 50 in Ireland. The survey repeated the 2006 and 2008 studies of older people’s attitudes to and participation in physical activity and sport in Ireland.

For further information or a copy of the full report, contact Michael Foley, Age & Opportunity Director of Communications at 01 853 5128 or on 087 236 1659.


See this week’s Leinster Express for more photographic coverage