Go for Life National Grant Scheme Funding Allocations Announced

 27 Nov 2019

The Go for Life National Grant Scheme, a combined initiative from Age & Opportunity and Sport Ireland, will distribute over €300,000 across 1,084 groups to promote physical activity in older people


  • Grants awarded to clubs nationwide in the promotion of activity in older people
  • Over €6 million awarded to date by the National Grant Scheme
  • 1,084 grants allocated under 2019 programme
  • 33,000 older people to benefit from investment

Today’s allocation brings the total grants allocated over the last 18 years to over €15,000 and the total fund allocated to date is over €6 million.  

The National Grant Scheme provides an accessible and enjoyable means for older people in communities nationwide to reap the health rewards from doing physical activity. Brendan Griffin, Minister of State with responsibility for Sport, said: 

 “I am delighted to see that almost €300,000 has been allocated by Sport Ireland to the Go for Life grants to over one thousand groups this year.  This means that 33,000 older people will take part in sport and physical activity as a direct result of this grant scheme. Over the last eighteen years the National Grant Scheme funding has supported and empowered thousands of groups of older people to get more active more often and the record number of applications this year shows the continued importance of the scheme for groups throughout the country. Go for Life is doing a wonderful job of providing opportunities for older people to enjoy all the benefits that participation can bring”

Speaking at the launch, John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, said the

‘Go for Life’ initiative continues to act as a valuable resource in getting more older people active.

“Sport Ireland’s vision is that sport contributes to enhancing the quality of Irish life and that people of all ages are encouraged and valued in sport.   To help us achieve this we work with Age & Opportunity to deliver opportunities and grants to as many clubs and groups as possible. This year we received the highest number of applications in the history of the grant allocation, which shows the growing enthusiasm and appetite for physical activity in older age-groups.”

The number of people who took part in activities funded by the 2018 grant scheme is over 33,000.  The number of grants allocated exceeds 1,000 for the seventh time and the percentage of successful applicants is 88%.

Karen Smyth, CEO of Age & Opportunity, said today’s grant funding is helping to create an Ireland where all older people are more active and more connected and the allocation of grants ensures clubs and groups from all walks of life could benefit from the scheme: 

“We are delighted to work in partnership with Sport Ireland. Age & Opportunity works to ensure equality of participation for all older people, irrespective of background, culture, identity, setting or location. We are delighted that this year 364 successful applications were from designated disadvantaged areas, the largest figure in the grants history.  There were also 108 groups who applied and received a grant for the first time".

“Of the groups who received grants last year 96% reported that they felt more active as a result of the funding, and 75% reported that they felt very much more connected.[i]” she said.

Of today’s successful funding allocations, 243 grants were awarded to Active Retirement Associations, 278 grants were awarded to Irish Countrywomen’s Associations and 21 applications were made by Local Sports Partnerships. 

Other funding allocations included:

  • 33 Men’s Sheds’ groups;
  • 2 Women’s Shed’s groups (for the first time);
  • 11 Arthritis Ireland initiatives;
  • 16 Irish Wheelchair Association groups; and
  • activities for 22 Family Resource Centres.

The Grant Scheme demonstrates the wide scope and ambition of Ireland’s older generations where keeping healthy and active is concerned. 

Tennis, cycling, rowing, seated boxing, dancing, aqua aerobics and handball are just some of the activities the grant will fund.

The Grant Scheme is part of Age & Opportunity’s ‘Go for Life’ programme, funded by Sport Ireland, and delivered nationwide with the support of Local Sports Partnerships and the HSE.