Latest Laois Sport: Update from Laois Sports Partnership

Latest Laois Sport: Update from Laois Sports Partnership

Busy November for Laois Sports Partnership

November is a busy time for Laois Sports Partnership, while the nights are colder and darker it is not the end of our programmes, it’s the beginning of the Winter Initiative. 

This ‘Winter Initiative’ led by Sport Ireland, calls on women, men, children, grandparents, cousins, neighbours, friends, work colleagues who haven’t yet ‘got going’ to get out walking, running, cycling or participating in some form of physical activity.

We encourage local clubs and groups to post and advertise their events and activities online to spread the word about the Winter Initiative. We want to encourage new people to try out different sports which they may have felt were outside their comfort zone before now and remain active in the winter months. Laois Sports Partnership have a number of confirmed programmes and activities currently up and running with more to be added over the coming weeks. Visit for more information.

Laois has plenty to offer in the outdoors during this time of the year, there are many fantastic walking trails dispersed throughout the county such as Emo Court, Abbeyleix Bog Walk and the Blue Way that can be accessed via Vicarstown and many more, visit for an extensive list of what’s available in Laois. 

The parkrun is a great way to get and stay active this time of the year, in there is an adults parkrun each Saturday from Vicarstown every Saturday from 9:30am. Being involved in your local parkrun is not limited to just taking part, it is an opportunity to join a great community of volunteers who are vital to the continuation of Parkruns. Contact John Scully on 085 174 2251 to express your interest in joining or volunteering at the parkrun in Vicarstown. Junior Parkruns also take place every Sunday in Rathdowney (9:30am, Contact Helen 089 408 1693) and in Vicarstown (11am). 

Programmes with Laois Sports Partnership 

During the month of November, we delivered a number of successful programmes:

  • Active Retirement Exercise Programme
  • Green Gym Physical Activity Programme
  • Activator Poles Walking Programme
  • Youth Reach Physical Activity Programme
  • Wellness Walks
  • Sequence Dancing with Maureen Culleton
  • Inclusive Activity Days (Fun for ALL Days)
  • Menowell
  • Winter Wellness
  • Zumba Gold

There are multiple programmes available for people of all ages and abilities to be physically active. Contact a member of the LSP team by emailing for interest in any new or similar programmes.

Pride of Place Awarded to SVT Hub 

Earlier this month the SVT Activity and Wellness Hub joined Laois Sports Partnership as National Award winners in 2023 as they were presented with a Judges special award at this year’s Pride of Place of Place competition.  This special award focuses on Health and Wellbeing and the facilities and activities being put in place to achieve this.   All at Laois Sports Partnership congratulate the SVT on this magnificent achievement. This acknowledgement is received as a result of years of tremendous volunteer work. The SVT Activity and Wellness Hub was the first of now 4 community sports hubs set up in Laois. Back in 2016, Laois Sports Partnership supported by Laois County Council along with local volunteers, set up the centralised hub for Stradbally, Vicarstown and Timahoe. Since the hub’s formation, there have been fantastic developments and additions to the community including the very successful parkrun along the Blueway, a canoe and kayak club, as well as cycling and walking.  The hub is run entirely by volunteers, this prestigious award is very much deserved for all the fantastic work being carried out and we look forward to continuing our support in the future and developing the hub further.  Laois was well represented at the awards ceremony as Camross received the runners up position for the Population Under 500 category. This showcases volunteerism is the heart of our community not only for sport and physical activity opportunities but all aspects of daily life and wish to acknowledge all the volunteers who support their communities across the County.

Training and Education

Earlier this month, a group of students from St. Fergal’s College in Rathdowney took part in a Disability Awareness Training which was delivered by George Percy (Disability Consultancy Services). The students began the training with some theory, they were given information in relation to various disabilities before taking part in a practical element. 

We paid a visit to another school this month. Our newly appointed ESF+ Social Innovation in Sport Officer worked with a fantastic group of Sport Leaders in TY at Colaiste Iosagain, Portarlington. Their aim was to develop new innovative activity programmes for young people which they could later implement.

Safeguarding training continued this month as we delivered 3 courses including an in-person workshop with St. Abban’s Athletics Club. If your club requires a number of coaches / volunteers to complete safeguarding training, Laois Sports Partnership can organise for this training to be delivered in person or online. For enquiries, contact

Volunteers in Sport Awards

Nominations for the awards are now open, and you can submit your entries at the dedicated awards website, Under the banner of #DedicatedToTheDedicated, these awards are more than just a ceremony; they are a celebration of the remarkable individuals who pour their hearts into sports in every county across Ireland.

2023 Volunteers in Sports Awards, a highly anticipated event set to recognise the unsung heroes who breathe life into sports in every corner of the country. Supported by the National Network of 29 Local Sports Partnerships these dedicated volunteers are the backbone of sporting communities, and it’s time to celebrate their unwavering commitment. Laois has an endless number of volunteers that have had unbelievable impacts on clubs and communities throughout the county. Take this opportunity to show support of your local volunteers and show your appreciation by submitting a nomination.

Menowell Research Published

‘Menowell’, a Pilot 6-Week Novel, Online, Multimodal Exercise and Health Education Programme for Women in All Stages of Menopause Living in Laois, was delivered as part of a research study. We are delighted to announce that the research paper has officially been published in the Physical Activity and Health journal.

The results of this pilot study highlight:

  • A lack of awareness and knowledge of perimenopause and post-menopause in midlife women living in Laois, Ireland. 
  • The need for increased availability and accessibility to reliable and evidence-based information, particularly in advance of the menopausal transition (i.e., women aged 30+).
  • Significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, upper- and lower-body muscular strength and endurance, lower-back and hamstring flexibility, menopausal symptoms, subjective wellbeing, and physical self-efficacy after the 6-week online ‘Menowell’ programme.
  • The need for the future rollout of ‘Menowell’ to enhance menopause-specific knowledge particularly on menopausal symptoms and chronic diseases associated with menopause and female ageing, to promote the adoption and maintenance of simple, practical, and positive lifestyle behaviours, and to support and achieve optimal physical, mental, emotional, social, and occupational wellness for midlife and older women.

Click here to read the full text. This research study was funded by Sport Ireland led by our partners EduFIT. A special thank you to the ‘MenoWell’ participants for their effort and commitment throughout this research study. Thank you to the EduFit team for the fantastic delivery of the Menowell programme and to Siobhán O’Connor MSc PhD from Dublin City University for all of the hard work you have