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SMILE School Completion Programme and the Learning Hub in Limerick receive funding to ‘Run for Fun’

Run for Fun: Tadgh Egar; Sarah Edmonds, Irish Youth Foundation; Niamh Walker, Vhi; Chloe Walker and Sophie Devitor (back), Darragh Power and O’Keefe Olenga from SMILE School Completion Programme in Limerick (front) Picture: Julien Behal


SMILE School Completion Programme and the Learning Hub in Limerick receive funding to ‘Run for Fun’

 SMILE School Completion Programme and the Learning Hub in Limerick were today awarded funding by Vhi to deliver a ‘Run for Fun’ programme as the company seeks to give a sporting chance to over 100 young people from underserved communities.





Run for Fun

Sarah Edmonds, Irish Youth Foundation; Adrian, Youth Leader, SMILE School Completion Programme; Jake Power; Darragh Power; O’Keefe Olenga and Niamh Walker, Vhi

In addition to the Limerick groups, three other youth groups were today awarded funding by Vhi to deliver the programme from Kilkenny, Donegal and Dublin.  

The ‘Run for Fun’ programme was created by Vhi, in partnership with the Irish Youth Foundation, to empower and build the self-esteem of young people through a dedicated fitness and nutrition programme.

‘Run for Fun’ launched as a pilot in 2017 and since then has seen 125 young people take part with 1,000 weeks of training completed across eight different youth groups. Following the success of the programme it was decided to open it up for applications to engage a wider pool of young people and generate greater awareness for the programme. Youth groups were invited to apply for funding in November and following a judging session, five groups were awarded funding.

In addition to SMILE School Completion Programme and the Learning Hub the three other successful youth groups include:

· Ossory Youth, from Kilkenny

· CDP na Rosann, from Dungloe in Donegal

· Just ASK, from Dublin

Each of these groups has received grants of €5,000 to deliver the programme to the young people in their community over an eight-week period. Through the course of the programme participants will train with fitness instructors, build up their fitness level while also learning about healthy eating. At the end of the programme they will be encouraged to take part in a 5km parkrun.

Speaking today Declan Moran, Director of Marketing & Business Development, Vhi said: “Getting involved in sport can be difficult for many young people who may have no previous experience or face social barriers that deter them from participating. That is where ‘Run for Fun’ comes in. Through the programme, young people living in underserved communities can see first-hand the benefits that running has on their health and wellbeing and learn about the importance of staying healthy. Building on our existing partnerships with Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon and parkrun, we are seeing a new generation enjoying the benefits of running and leading an active lifestyle.

“At the end of each Run for Fun programme Vhi employees join the young people and take part in the local parkrun with them. To see the pride on the faces of the young people when they complete the 5km is what it’s all about. We’re looking forward to seeing how the five successful groups progress over the next eight weeks and joining them at a parkrun in the coming weeks.”

Lucy Masterson, CEO, Irish Youth Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Vhi again this year on the Run for Fun programme. Through the Run for Fun programme Vhi have highlighted how important it is to them to level the playing field for young people across Ireland living in underserved communities. This programme is an excellent opportunity for these young people to boost their self-esteem, build their resilience and reach their full potential. The impact of this programme over the past three years has been fantastic and by opening the Run for Fun to new community groups, we will be able to create positive change for even more young people throughout Ireland.”

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.