The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund today awarded €125,000 in funding for the fifth consecutive year. Five non-profit and voluntary groups have each received €25,000 for projects that will get local communities in Ireland and Northern Ireland more active, more often.

Since 2011, the Fund has awarded €625,000 to 47 projects that have succeeded in getting more than 30,000 people moving.

The five winners of the Fund in 2015 are:

·  The Camogie Association for Teen Cluster Camogie – providing activities and training for female teenagers within club communities.

·  Canoeing Ireland for Blueway 10K - an ambitious project specifically aimed at promoting an alternative fitness routine to the indoor gym workout, while highlighting the incredible blueway (water activity trail) infrastructure that is being developed in Ireland.

·  Donegal Youth Service for Shake Up Sports – engaging young people from youth clubs in taster sessions, where they can try out alternatives to the mainstream competitive sports.

·  Tennis Ireland for its initiative enabling access to tennis for people with intellectual disabilities.

·  Tipperary Regional Youth Service for Activ8 - a physical health challenge aimed at young adults in Tipperary.

Speaking today, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, praised the five groups for their innovative projects.

“It’s always a pleasure to meet groups which are enthusiastic about getting people involved with sport and getting them moving by capturing their interest with exciting projects. Since 2011, the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund has donated €625,000 in cash grants to not-for-profit and voluntary organisations. Over 30,000 people have become more active through projects supported by the Fund. It’s great news for the five winning organisations here today as they each receive €25,000 but now the hard work begins as they go about implementing their projects. They are focused on bringing local communities with them and making sure that people feel empowered to try something new. Many of us could do with a little more exercise so it’s great to have projects like this which give people the incentive to get more active.”

The projects in receipt of funding were selected following a competitive judging process. Shortlisted applicants met with a judging panel consisting of representatives from both of the Fund’s partner organisations – the Federation of Irish Sport and the Northern Ireland Sports Forum – as well as Niamh Gavin, Business Services Manager at The Wheel; Susan Grady, board member at Ireland Active; Lorraine Ho, founder of Bootcamp Ireland; Niall Moyna, Professor in the School of Health and Human Performance and a member of the Centre for Preventive Medicine in DCU; Denis Toomey, president of Cycling Ireland, and Ciara Cashen, Public Affairs & Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Hellenic Ireland. In addition to pitching the judges on their idea, the groups also fielded questions on their approach during Q&A sessions.

Frank O’Donnell, General Manager of Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, congratulated the recipient organisations and said that 2015 represented a milestone year for the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund.

“We are delighted to have reached the fifth anniversary of the Thank You Fund and to reflect on the fantastic projects it has supported, with the aim of getting people more active, more often. The Fund has served to shine a light on all the dedicated organisations working in communities across Ireland and Northern Ireland, and it has been great to hear of the difference the projects have made in people’s lives. More than 30,000 people have been positively impacted by the ideas the Fund has helped turn into a reality, and that’s an achievement we are very proud of. Well done to all the groups that applied this year – the standard was exceptional. We are thankful to the judges who gave their time and to Minister Ring for his support of the Fund,” he said.

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

Media Contacts:

Suzanne Sullivan, Q4PR, 01-4751444/086-3797291
ssullivan@q4pr.ie

Cillian Murphy, Q4PR, 01-4751444/086-4107750
cillian@q4pr.ie