Over €22 million was invested in the network of Local Sports Partnerships by Sport Ireland, Local Authorities and partner organisations in 2019 with over half a million people across communities in Ireland taking part in LSP sport and physical activity opportunities.

The figures are included in the 13th annual Sport Ireland Local Sports Partnerships Annual Report, which was published yesterday.

The report outlines the work of the 29 LSPs across the country and highlights innovative programmes and initiatives that are operated locally.

There was a very equal gender split with 163,608 girls under the age of 16 and 74,526 women taking part in activities, making up 51 per cent of the total.

Half of these were in specific Women in Sport initiatives.

14,929 participated in events targeted at older adults, while 24,387 people with a disability took part.

The largest single event was the 24,488 that took part in the Operation Transformation 5K Run and Walks.

“It is clear from the figures in the Annual Report that the Local Sports Partnership network has a positive impact in communities, especially for target groups who are often less represented,” said Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin.

“The Government’s new Covid 19 funding support package will ensure the survival of our vibrant sport sector, particularly the many clubs in local communities throughout the country.”

“It is heartening to see that so many people have recognised the importance of staying active during the crisis. It is important to thank everyone involved in the LSP network for keeping programmes going. We must now seize the opportunity to secure a lasting improvement in the health and wellbeing of our nation by encouraging people to stay involved in sport.”

“I want to acknowledge the contribution of sports volunteers, not just for everything they have done during this public health crisis but for what they do all year round. We will continue to support their growth and provide every opportunity to sustain their ongoing involvement.”

“The Sport Ireland Statement of Strategy 2018-2022 highlights the significant potential contribution that sport can make to enhance quality of life, and tackle many societal and environmental challenges, and the LSP network has placed themselves at the forefront of this journey towards lifelong and inclusive sport for all,” added Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy.

“Funding received in 2019 ensured the nationwide rollout of Community Sports Development Officer and Sports Inclusion Disability Officer positions in each of the 29 LSPs.”

“These roles have helped to increase the presence of Local Sports Partnerships within communities and allows for the continued development of sustainable programmes at a local level.”

“The Local Sports Partnership Annual Report highlights increased participation numbers across every age group and from all social backgrounds throughout Ireland<‘ said Sport Ireland Director of Participation and Ethics, Dr Una May.

“It is heartening to see the number of females who took part in local women in sport initiatives as well as the number of people with a disability who took part in LSP initiatives.”

“Removing the barriers to sport and physical activity is a key aim of Sport Ireland and the LSP Network and the figures announced in the Annual Report show great progress towards this.”

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Rob Hartnett of Sport for Business is Chair of the Dublin Sport and Wellbeing Partnership, the largest of the Local Sports Partnerships.