The Federation of Irish Sport has targeted the establishment of strong relationships across the Government Departments of Health, Education and Enterprise as key markers in its strategic plan to 2017.
The plan was launched at this weeks Annual Conference where Sir Keith Mills of the London 2012 organising committee addressed a gathering of 60 sporting leaders and government officials on the benefits of operating in closer harmony.
“The main aim of the Federation is to provide a dynamic and effective voice for Irish Sport,” said Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Federation speaking to Sport for Business at the conference.
“We focus on lobbying and communication to bring to life the real value that sport has within the communities of Ireland from schools to clubs to national events and this is more important than ever in a time when the financial support that triggers sport is harder to find.”
“We also provide value for members and for sport in general through the collective bringing together of shared services.”
“The Group insurance scheme operated through BHP and IPB Insurance has meant savings for irish sport of 23% in eight months of operation and that is a model we can look to expand in other areas over the coming years.”
“Our moving to the new Sport HQ on the site of the National Sports Campus will enable greater spirit and cooperation across sports and we will be focused on providing a central point to make that have a real and tangible benefit.”
The Federation has highlighted the need to expand relations with Government to include cross party support in areas of health promotion, schools policy and as a creator of 40,000 jobs in the country.
“Sometimes sport is taken less seriously than it deserves and we need to stand up and be strong about the benefits a sporting approach will bring in so many different areas.”
“We also want to lessen dependance on Government funding by establishing more commercial and philanthropic relationships that will yield a benefit for sport as a whole.”
The clear and concise nature of the strategic plan is welcomed by Sport for Business which shares many of the aims of the Federation and can help to play a part in bringing them to the wider business community.
There will be many ways over the coming years in which we can work together to further the benefit for sport from a business community that is committed in principle to working closer and which can be brought on board financially not through well meaning words but by concrete proof that an investment in sport will produce a return in terms of metrics from the cold hard bottom line to the more aspirational line item of brand reputation and staff engagement.
We should look forward to the journey with optimism.
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