Roscommon Sports Partnership are inviting sports clubs, special interest groups, community groups and individuals interested in sport & physical activity to review the latest discussion document for their Strategic Plan. This is the fourth strategic plan produced by Roscommon Sports Partnership. RSP receives it’s funding from Sport Ireland, HSE Section-39, Dormant Account Funds and Healthy Ireland. In 2022, Roscommon Sports Partnership will be celebrating 20 years since it was first established in 2002. It was one of the first sports partnerships to be set up by what was known then as the Irish Sports Council, now Sport Ireland. The aim of establishing Local Sports Partnerships was to plan, lead and coordinate the development of sport and physical activity at a local level within each county.
Since 2002, RSP have supported many local areas and groups with the day-to-day running of clubs and development of infrastructure both financially and in an advisory capacity. In its role of developing sport and physical activity throughout county Roscommon, RSP have also increased the level and range of sports and physical activities offered. Increasing participation in physical activity in county Roscommon, especially in the identified target groups of older adults, people with disabilities, young people, women/girls, people with an ethnic minority background and people who live in disadvantaged areas is the main aim of RSP.
Training and educating coaches and volunteers within clubs and community-based organisations is another main area of focus within RSP. Safeguarding courses and sport disability inclusion training are regularly availed of by local volunteers. This is important from a governance point of view, which is becoming increasingly important in the way clubs and organisations are ran.
Some of the most popular programmes and events ran by RSP in recent times have been the Fit Farmers programme, Open Water Swimming and the Roscommon Community Challenge. Initiatives such as these have been proven to improve participant’s health and fitness while creating sustainable ways for people to become active, and most importantly, stay active. One of the guiding policies of which RSP bases its operations is the National Sports Policy 2018-2027. In this policy, there are sports that are identified as being high priority. Cycling, swimming, running and walking are believed to have the greatest potential for maintaining high levels of participation across an individual’s lifetime. As a result of this, RSP places significant emphasis on these activities and delivers high quality programmes throughout the county.
Along with the social and mental health benefits, there is significant evidence that being physically active can have a huge influence on an individual’s overall health. A study on the benefit of sport and physical activity on Irish Society and Economy in 2018 found that participation in sport and physical activity prevents nearly 100,000 cases of diseases annually. These diseases include stroke, certain cancers and Type 2 diabetes.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions changed the way people participated in physical activity. The number of people walking and cycling for transport and leisure are currently higher than pre-pandemic levels. However, not all data gathered has been as positive. At certain times during strict pandemic restrictions, sports participation throughout Ireland dropped as low as 35%, the lowest level recorded since 2007 (down from 46% in 2019). Most notably, organised activity, particularly indoor disciplines among older adults and people with disabilities, faced huge difficulties in returning to activity and has seen a loss in members and volunteers. A key part of the new RSP strategic plan will be learning how the pandemic has affected both participation and volunteering within county Roscommon and identifying how RSP can use its resources efficiently to return to pre-pandemic levels of participation and assist clubs and groups to get back up and running.
The latest edition of the Irish Sports Monitor, recorded in 2019, reported that Roscommon had a participation rate of 36.4%. While although this had increased, it was still noted as being a lower rate when compared to the average for all counties. As a sparsely populated county with a mainly rural population, RSP continues to face significant challenges when it comes to promoting sport and physical activity.
That is why feedback is needed from the public is required to gain an insight into the needs facing those who are involved in sport & physical activity, and those who wish to get involved.
The pillars of the latest Strategic Plan are Partnerships & Collaboration, Diversity & Opportunities, Awareness and Governance & Oversight. Feedback and suggestions will be incorporated into the final version of the Roscommon Sports Partnership Strategic Plan 2022-2027.
All feedback MUST be submitted to email@example.com by close of business on Monday 16th May 2022.