Laois Sports Partnership News

Laois Sports Partnership News

Activator Poles and Walks for Older Adults

Portlaoise ARG have enjoyed taking part in Activator Pole activity sessions, weekly walks & Scooch games for the last 6 weeks with LSP staff and tutors.  We were very lucky with the weather and we were able to stay outdoors.  The group have improved both their strength and fitness taking part in these sessions.

Benefits of Walking with ACTIVATOR™ Poles:

​- improves stability

– reduces impact on hip and knee joints

– develop core strength

– improve posture

– promotes better gait pattern.


The poles may be suitable for:

​- post/hip knee surgery

– Multiple Sclerosis

– Parkinson’s Disease

– Osteoarthritis

– Fall Prevention.

Activator Poles Portlaoise ARG

Zoom Training for Older Adults

On Wednesday 21st October the staff of Laois Sports Partnership organised Zoom training for Portlaoise Active Retirement Group in Portlaoise Parish Centre. Thanks to Declan and the staff for accommodating us.

The group want to keep their activity level going while not being able to continue with their weekly outdoor sessions for the next 6 weeks.

It was great to see the training put into practice the next day when the group took part in our Easy Peasy exercises session over zoom. We had great fun. This will be run on a Tuesday and Thursday from 11.00-11.45 for the next 6 weeks. For more info on our Easy Peasy exercise sessions, call 057 8671248.

Wellness Walk – Emo Court

Our walk leaders Donie & Caroline lead out a walk in Emo Court for the last 4 weeks.  Participants got to enjoy the beauty of Emo Court and enjoying a socially distanced chat, singsong and reciting of some poetry.  The group are looking forward to getting back walking in December where they can enjoy many of the wonderful walks in County Laois.

Scooch for European Week of Sport

Memorial Walk for Mick Dowling

It was great to take part in a walk to The Stoney Man from The Ridge of Capard in the Slieve Bloom Mountains in memory of our dear friend Mick Dowling, who was a member of the Board of Laois Sports Partnership for many years, as well as a being a valued community walking leader and volunteer. Mick was actively involved as a physical activity leader (PAL) with our older adult groups as part of our GO FOR LIFE programme. Mick’s knowledge of the trails, geography and history of the Slieve Blooms was second to none. Mick definitely looked after us on the day with the wonderful weather. We heard great stories of Mick throughout his life and his love for the mountains. Thanks to Trudy Earls for leading the walk.

Zumba with Irene

Scooch Blitz in St. Mary’s Hall for European Week of Sport


We had a great morning in St. Mary’s Hall in Portlaoise with Frank Fahey from Fitwalk Ireland. Participants enjoyed an active morning of Scooch as part of European Week of Sport.  Scooch is a unique Irish adaption of the sport of shuffleboard. It is generally played amongst Men’s Sheds groups. Scooch is an ideal game for groups who enjoy some friendly competition and is very easily adapted to comply with social distancing guidelines. We look forward to running more “Come & Try” days and competitions once Covid-19 restrictions allow. For more details call 057 8671248.


Laois Connects Mental Health Awareness Week


Laois Sports Partnership was proud to join with our local partners to support Laois Connects Week again this year. As well as socially distanced outdoor walks and activities, we were delighted to host two online workshops facilitated by Finola Colgan from Mental Health Ireland. Our “Fiveways to Wellbeing” workshop and lunchtime “Connect Café” were very much enjoyed by the participants. With another 6 weeks of level 5 restrictions commencing it is so important to look after our health and wellbeing, and taking part in physical activity is one of the “Five Ways” we can do this. For more supports and to download a copy of our “S’porting Your Wellbeing” booklet launched earlier this year with our partners in Mental Health Ireland, visit the Covid-19 resource page of our website at

Should you wish to arrange a workshop or “Connect Café” for your group, please email

SVT Canoe


SVT Activity & Wellness Hub and Rathdowney/Errill Activity Hub

SVT Canoeing & Kayaking Club trained up 13 new members in Canoeing Level 2. We had a lovely 3 weeks of training for our group on the canal. Many thanks to all who took part and to our tutor Karl and club members Susan and Anne for all their help with the group. Our new members can now enjoy peer paddling with the rest of the club. We will be running further courses and our level 2 Kayaking will be starting in the New Year.

We have enjoyed many paddles along the canal over the last month, our members enjoyed getting out for their socially distanced group paddles. Most notably was the first of our night paddles which happened last week.

Rathdowney Errill Activity Hub have started a 6-week walking programme which had a very successful two weeks of walks taking place aroud the beautiful Grantstown Lake and our proposed Sli na Slainte Route through the centre of the town. These walks have now been postponed due to restrictions, but we are encouraging the community to utilise the beautiful walks we have and also utilise the lights around the track at St Fergals College. The fully lit walking track has brought a great safe facility to the community. The track can be used after 4pm during the week.

Upcoming Safeguarding Training Courses

Our next Safeguarding 1 Online Training Course will take place on Thursday the 5th of November from 6.30 – 9.30. Certified by Sport Ireland, the course will be delivered via Zoom. Course fee is €18 per person and pre-booking is required. For more information and the booking link, see “Upcoming Events” on the Laois Sports Partnership facebook page.

Sport Ireland will also be launching online training for Safeguarding Courses 2 & 3 shortly. To have your named added to the waitlist for courses, please email

Bike Week

Laois Sports Partnership, LASG and Laois Partnership organised October cycling sessions with community members in different locations around the County. We enjoyed cycles in Rathdowney, Mountmellick and Portlaoise which were led by members of Trilogy triathlon Club and Ossory cycling Club. For more information about beginner cycles in the New Year contact Roisin Ellis at Laois Sports Partnership.

Outdoor Zumba and weekly walks in the community

Community members from Direct Provision in Laois enjoyed an outdoor Zumba session on a bright October morning, the session was delivered by Irene Ogbulafor and funded by Laois Integration Network. A group of keen walkers from the Zumba session continued weekly walks near Emo Court with one member of the group completing the Walking Leader online training through The Irish Heart Foundation.

Your Personal Best Month

Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Sport Jack Chambers TD today launched Sport Ireland’s Your Personal Best Month, which will run throughout November, aimed at getting men over 45 more physically active.

Also present at the launch were Sport Ireland Chief Executive John Treacy and Professor Niall Moyna, Head of the School of Health and Human Performance at Dublin City University. Actor and broadcaster Simon Delaney and former Ireland rugby international John Hayes are also acting as a campaign ambassadors.

Repeated studies, including Sport Ireland’s most recent Irish Sports Monitor, have consistently shown that males aged over 45, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, are amongst those least likely to be active. As a result they suffer from worse health, mental and physical, and are more likely to die younger, than the rest of the population.

Your Personal Best Month is an exciting project encouraging men to stop making excuses and to engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week. The campaign is being supported by various sporting National Governing Bodies such as Cycling Ireland, Athletics Ireland, Get Ireland Walking and Swim Ireland, who will provide information, advice and programmes for men who want to become more active with resources available at The campaign is also being supported by the nationwide network of Local Sport Partnerships, who will provide practical support on the ground.

21 October 2020; Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Sport Jack Chambers TD with Professor Niall Moyna, left, Head of the School of Health and Human Performance at Dublin City University, and Sport Ireland Chief Executive John Treacy in attendance at the launch of Sport Ireland’s Your Personal Best, a campaign encouraging men over the age of 45 to get physically active and engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. Visit for more details.

The majestic Emo Court. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Wellness Walk – Emo Court Photo of Emo Court courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sport Ireland’s Irish Sports Monitor 2019 revealed that only one in four men aged 45-54 meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended 150 minute of exercise per week. On average, men of this age are physically active for just 87 minute per week or 12 minute per day, with one in six not participating in any sport or exercise.

Socio-economic standing influences activity levels; those with the highest education and income are twice as likely to play sports than those the poorest backgrounds who, in turn, are the most likely to lead sedentary lives with 16% claiming to take no form of exercise.

Minster Chambers said: “The positive role that sport and physical activity play in our health and physical wellbeing as a nation should never be underestimated. Your Personal Best Month will have a positive impact on a group that are consistently under-represented when it comes to participation in sport and physical activity, which in turn will have knock-on benefits for them in terms of their health and wellbeing. The current pandemic has highlighted the need more than ever for people to care for themselves and sport and physical activity are a brilliant outlet for many to do so.”

Sport Ireland is the authority tasked with the development of sport in Ireland and this includes participation in sport and physical activity. Your Personal Best Month is aimed squarely at a group in society that has consistently been amongst those least likely to enjoy the benefits of participating in sport and physical activity, with funding for the project coming from the Dormant Accounts Fund.

John Treacy said: “Sport Ireland are delighted to launch Your Personal Best month, which will help to shine a light on the need for men over the age of 45 to get more physically active and engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. It’s wonderful that this campaign is being supported by our network of national Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships that reach into every community in the country, and this integrated approach will offer increased opportunities for those men who are looking to become more physically active. One of Sport Ireland’s key roles is to increase participation in sport and physical activity across all sections in society and Your Personal Best Month will play vital role in this.

“People can exercise and be physically active during Level 5 restrictions, and we would encourage everyone to continue to do so for their own wellbeing, but we also ask that people respect the guidelines and exercise within 5km of their home and if they are exercising with others to maintain social distancing of 2m as it’s important that we all play our part in keeping everyone safe.”

Professor Niall Moyna of DCU added: “Health related problems due to lack of physical activity continue to rise in Ireland and it’s a major concern. We know that people who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds are at much higher risk of developing these health problems and education and access to employment all play their part – people underestimate the importance of those determinants and how they impact on our health. I would stress to anyone though, that it’s never too late to reset. We want people to set realistic goals, not something that’s unsustainable. Just 30 minutes a day; 15 minutes from your front door and 15 minutes back, five days a week.”