Swim Ireland was today named as the overall winner of this year’s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund and was awarded a top prize of €25,000. Swim Ireland was one of eleven non-profit organisations promoting healthy and active living in Ireland and Northern Ireland to benefit from an overall annual Coca-Cola Thank You Fund of €125,000. FIS was present at the event which was attended by Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, was held in the National Sports Campus.

This year FIS partnered with the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, our third year of being involved with the fund. FIS members and sports clubs have benefited from the fund since its inception in 2011 with 1 NGB and 1 Sport Club (Special Olympics and Titans Basketball Club) winning prizes. In 2012 the top prize winner was the Irish Olympic Handball Association and two sport clubs also picked up prizes (Ballina Boxing Club and Ballyduff AFC). This year a total of 4 FIS members and one sports club were awarded prizes for the excellent projects, including the winner; Swim Ireland, The Camogie Association, Irish Hockey Association, Irish Basketball Association and also Monkstown Boxing Club.

The top prize of €25,000 will enable Swim Ireland make their ‘Swim for a Mile Challenge’ a reality. The winning initiative, to be launched in December this year, will challenge members of the public to compete in an- all Ireland event to swim a mile with Swim Ireland providing a training program, advice and motivation for all those wanting to take on the challenge.Swim Ireland was today named as the overall winner of this year?s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund and was awarded a top prize of ¤25,00

Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, said at the presentation:  “Swim Ireland is a very deserving winner, its Swim for a Mile Challenge initiative will be encouraging those that have been out of the water for a while to dive back in.  I would like to applaud Coca-Cola on this, the third year of their Coca-Cola Thank You Fund. It is a very real example of business working to promote healthy, active communities. The 11 organisations that will share in this generous fund will be making a significant difference in communities around the island of Ireland.”

“Thank you to the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund! This award will make our Swim for a Mile Challenge a reality,” said Sarah Keane, Chief Executive Officer of Swim Ireland. “The aim of the program is to promote swimming and its many health benefits. Swimming is such an inclusive sport – open to everyone, of any age and all fitness levels.  We are thrilled to be rolling out this exciting project, and are so grateful to Coca-Cola for their support.”

“The funding awarded to each of the 11 winners will result in exciting, diverse initiatives designed to promote healthy, active lifestyles being realised across the island of Ireland. I would like to congratulate all of the entries on their creativity and passion, the calibre of the proposals received by Coca-Cola this year was very impressive. I would also like to thank Minister Ring for his continued support, and our panel of judges that had the onerous task of selecting a shortlist from over 300  entries,” said Ailish Forde, Director, Public Affairs and Communications Coca-Cola HBC Ireland.

Swim Ireland was today named as the overall winner of this year?s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund and was awarded a top prize of ¤25,00

The sucessful projects were chosen following a public vote on the shortlist, which accounted for 50% of the final score. A judging panel including Sarah O’Connor, Chief Executive, The Federation of Irish Sport; Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive, The Wheel; James Laverty, NICVA; fitness expert Karl Henry; nutritionist Paula Mee, Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy and Erica Roseingrave , Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland, awarded the remaining votes.

The ten other non-profit organisations which will each receive €10,000 from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund to carry out projects promoting healthy and active living in Ireland and Northern Ireland were also named today. They are:

  • Dundalk Simon Community This project will involve a 20-week programme focused on fitness and well-being. It will run over 3 mornings a week and will focus on improving fitness levels and promoting healthy lifestyles amongst the users of Simon’s service in Dundalk.
  • Europa Donna Ireland Limited  This project will encourage breast cancer survivors to take part in dragon boating, a fun, new sport. Such physical activity helps improve survival rates of people with a diagnosis of Breast Cancer and can help with certain symptoms. This project will be rolled out in multiple counties.
  • Inkwell Youth Group – ‘Eat Well. Think Well. Be Well.’ promotes healthy lifestyles among Irish university students. Through an upgrade to the training kitchen, this project will be better able to give students the knowledge and skills to eat well on a budget. This is a Galway based initiative.
  • Irish Basketball Association – Basketball Ireland’s National 3on3 Programme’ will be rolled out on a national basis throughout local area boards. The games will be tournament based and aimed at young men and women. Again this will reach multiple counties.
  • Irish Hockey Association – H3 (Healthy Heart Hockey) is a physical well-being programme that celebrates the benefits of active lifestyles, providing nutritional education and an opportunity to attend a local fun game-based festival. Again this will reach multiple counties.
  • Listowel Community Centre – This initiative will enhance mental resilience through active lifestyle coaching in secondary schools, focusing on transition year students in ten schools across the county for ten weeks aiming to permanently affect healthy and active lifestyle practices. This is Kerry based.
  • Louisburgh HQ – The Louisburgh area has potential for 6 activity routes they want to promote and develop.   These routes will be used for cycling and walking by locals and visitors to our area. The twin goals are to highlight the area’s natural beauty and engage more people in exercise.
  • Monkstown Boxing Club – BoxClever’ will consist of a 40 week development programme in partnership with Monkstown Community High School to deliver a newly developed non-contact boxing and after schools programme for Year 8 & 9 pupils. This is based in Northern Ireland.
  • The Camogie Association – The parents of camogie-playing girls (aged 12-14) will be encouraged to join their daughters and try out the sport through a 6 week programme that will include a focus on healthy eating. Again this has multiple county reach.
  • The Prince’s Trust – This project is an individually tailored personal development programme combining one-to-one support and group activities delivered by a dedicated team aimed at the most marginalised and disengaged young people aged 16 to 25. This is Northern Ireland based.

More information about the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is available at www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou.