Horse Sport Ireland leads Affiliate success in Sport Ireland COVID-19 Grant Scheme application

  • 3 November 2020, 14:31

Horse Sport Ireland has been successful in securing in excess of €1m of support for equestrian sport as Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media, Catherine Martin TD and Minister of State for Sport and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jack Chambers TD,  announced funding under the Sport Ireland Covid-19 Grant scheme.

Sport Ireland opened the application process for funding in late July for National Governing Bodies of Sport, Local Sports Partnerships and Sports Clubs in response to the Covid-19 crisis.  Horse Sport Ireland, as National Governing Body for Equestrian, managed the application process for their recognised sporting body membership affiliates, across the Olympic and recreational disciplines under the Club Resilience Fund scheme announced in late July. The purpose of the scheme is to protect the defined club and affiliate networks, allowing sport organisations to off-set significant losses incurred in recent months and add a semblance of certainty to planning for 2021. Following extensive support to, and engagement with, its affiliate family Horse Sport Ireland submitted the sector’s application in mid-September 2020. The team at Horse Sport Ireland continued to liaise with Sport Ireland throughout October to emphasise the solvency and strategic impact on participatory sport, youths programmes and grass roots sporting activities that the Covid-19 crisis has had.

Horse Sport Ireland also submitted applications to Sport Ireland’s Sports Restart and Renewal Fund. It was successfully awarded funding for the National Equestrian Education Pathway (NEEP). The NEEP is a national curriculum and pathway to help develop and educate all those involved in equestrian sport. It will be universally aligned across equestrian disciplines and all affiliated bodies within the country, an initiative identified and called for in the Reaching New Heights report. A successful application was also made to the Sports Restart and Renewal Fund for an initiative that will see remote benchmarking and training via video recording, for Irish Para Dressage horse and athlete combinations while minimising the need for international travel hampered due to Covid-19.

Acting CEO of Horse Sport Ireland, Mr. Joe Reynolds, commented:

“Horse Sport Ireland and the equestrian community are extremely grateful to Sport Ireland, Minister Martin and Minister Chambers for their exceptional support in these very challenging times. The funding provided will be pivotal to continuation of equestrian activities by supporting participatory, grassroots sporting activities, whilst maintaining the development opportunities for the athletes of the future in the three equestrian Olympic disciplines in which Ireland has garnered so much successes on the international stage. The investment by Sport Ireland in equestrian sport recognises the physical and mental health benefits of what is primarily an outdoors sport, achieved through a strong bond with the horse. The work of the Horse Sport Ireland affiliates in preparing the applications for their membership is to be recognised and is testament to the commitment of the individuals involved who give their time on a volunteer basis. The importance of this funding to our Olympic and recreational affiliates will be a lifeline of support in these usual times.

I welcome the Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey’s comments in relation to supporting funded bodies into 2021 as sport faces into an extended period of uncertainty. Horse Sport Ireland will continue to advocate strongly for equestrian sport and the sport horse industry as a whole.

Horse Sport Ireland will shortly receive details of amount awarded for specific disciplines and commence distribution of funds on behalf of Sport Ireland.