The level of Covid-19 restrictions during certain parts of 2020 highlighted how adaptable Donegal Sports Partnership (DSP) and its staff were, and how willing they were to respond to whatever was placed in their path with great enthusiasm, according to Donegal Sports Partnership Coordinator, Myles Sweeney.
Presenting his report to the organisation’s annual general meeting, which was held remotely earlier this month, Mr Sweeney said: “Great credit is due to all the staff, the many partner organisations and funding bodies who provided flexibility and adaptability to ensure a sport and physical activity service was available to our communities.”
Noting that the annual report highlights the many outcomes across all DSP’s target areas, the coordinator said: “It reflects a lower-than-normal number participation rate, but in the circumstances, this was to be inevitable.
“However, a final effort by all staff at delivering our ’30 for 30 Christmas 2020 Challenge’ which focused at encouraging 30 minutes of exercise for 30 days, proved to be very successful – not only in terms of participation in active lifestyles by approximately 3,000 individuals, but also in promoting the resources and services of Donegal Sports Partnership.”
Mr Sweeney noted that Sport Ireland, through the Local Sports Partnership funding, contributed 39 per cent of DSP’s core funding, with and a further 33 per cent secured through Sport Ireland’s Dormant Accounts Programmes Fund supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
“These resources supported our many programmes during 2020, so we express our deep gratitude to all in Sport Ireland, not only for funding resources, but also for their support towards building the capacity of the LSP Network.”
DSP secured €790,326 in funding for 2020 – an increase of 12 per cent on 2019. A total of 7,480 people participated in locally delivered initiatives, while DSP held 245 programmes, events and courses promoting physical activity and education and training initiatives in 2020.
In her address, DSP Chairperson, Anne McAteer, also referred to the impact the pandemic had on the organisation.
She said: “Despite Covid restrictions, lockdowns and precautionary measures, Donegal Sports Partnership has continued to deliver a very significant body of work.
“Overall numbers may be down, but the target groups, particularly marginalised and disadvantaged communities, have been participating in the online provision which has been a positive outcome.
“There are some worrying trends emerging noted by the coordinator and staff in the different reports to board meetings. Among these are the drop in volunteer numbers and the impact of Covid-19 on youth mental health and subsequent linked increased in alcohol and drug use reported by clubs.
“From a health perspective the loss of conditioning in our older population is also concerning. The outcome for our young people following the loss of coming up on two years of involvement at pre-Covid levels in their sport of choice will only be seen when we emerge fully from the pandemic.
“For clubs, particularly smaller ones, the loss of income over the past year and a half may also result in some permanent closures. These will be issues for the Sports Partnership to consider and address in future annual plans.
“On a brighter note the funding to Donegal Sports Partnership is stable. I would like to commend our coordinator, Myles Sweeney, senior administrator, Deirdre O’Toole, and our treasurer, Kathleen Bonner for their management of the accounts.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank our primary funder Sport Ireland and acknowledge local contributions from Donegal ETB, Donegal County Council and the HSE’s Health and Wellbeing Department,” the chairperson added.
Donegal Sports Partnership’s board of directors sees Joe Sweeney, who represents the community and voluntary sector, replacing Katheen Bonner as company treasurer. The board and executive acknowledged Kathleen’s dedication during her term as treasurer and wished Joe well in his new role.
The new treasurer will also take on the position of chairperson of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.
The DSP board for 2021/2022 is:
Chairperson, Anne McAteer, Health Service Executive.
Vice Chairperson, PJ Hallinan, Partnership Companies.
Secretary, Martin Gormley, Donegal ETB.
Treasurer, Joe Sweeney, Inishowen Community Forum.
Director, Cllr Anthony Molloy, Donegal County Council elected member.
Director, Charles Sweeney, Donegal County Council Local Government Officer.
Director, Eamon Harvey, South Community Forum.
Director, Kathleen Bonner, Finn Valley Community Health Forum.
Director, Michael McMahon, Donegal County Council elected member.
Director, Siobhan Cullen, Letterkenny Institute of Technology.
Director, Seamus Campbell, Donegal Sports Ability Forum.
To view Donegal Sports Partnership’s annual report for 2020 in full, follow the link: http://www.activedonegal.com/