Fingal County Council has been awarded €70,333 for the development of a Community Sports and Activity Hub in Balbriggan as part of the National Physical Activity Plan.
This grant comes as part of €2.9 million worth of funding for sport and physical activity projects to be distributed nationally by Sport Ireland across disadvantaged areas through the Dormant Accounts Fund.
Minster of State for Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin TD announced the funding on Monday November 13, saying: “The comprehensive programme of initiative support through this funding allocation will give people with disabilities and those from socially, economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity.”
The funding will allow for the employment of a Community Sports Development Officer who will be based in Balbriggan and co-ordinate local Sport and Physical activity programmes. The remainder of the grant will be used to provide sports equipment.
Fingal County Council’s Principal Sports Officer Marion Brown welcomed the funding saying: “This grant is hugely valuable to the residents of Balbriggan. The employment of a local sports development officer will allow for a comprehensive sports programme to be implemented. This is a fantastic investment in Balbriggan and I am confident that the development of a Sports Hub will have huge benefits on residents’ health, well-being and quality of life.”
Emphasising the importance of access to sport clubs to communities, Fingal County Council Chief Executive Paul Reid said: “We have seen time and again the value of sports clubs and activity programmes to both individuals and communities as a whole and I am delighted that the residents of Balbriggan will have the chance to experience these benefits with the presence of a Sports Hub. This will help our efforts at sustainable community development in the town by using sport as a vehicle to enhance community engagement, increase participation and engagement in health promotion and support school completion and the educational attainment of young people.”
This funding coincides with the Sport Ireland Strategic, Planning, Evaluation and Knowledge (SPEAK) Report published on Monday, November 13 which notes an increased participation in sports as well as better access to information and training as a result of innovative local sports programmes.
Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Mary McCamley said she expects that the presence of such a programme in Balbriggan will have similar benefits: “As we see in the SPEAK report, the development of sports infrastructure at local level increases participation from people who may not have ever had an interest in sport. I’m delighted to see in the report that 10,404 female participants took part in 70 local ‘Women in Sport’ programmes. I am sure that the development of a Sports Hub in Balbriggan will create an environment where information and resources are readily available.”
Balbriggan is one of nine new Sport Hubs to be developed with a further thirteen in existence.