Olympic athletes Derval O’Rourke and Paddy Barnes today announced that €125,000 is available for projects that have new ideas to get people more active, more often.

The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund will once again award five separate €25,000 grants to organisations that have a new idea to encourage people to be more active, more often. Non-profit and voluntary organisations in Ireland and Northern Ireland can apply now at coca-cola.ie/thankyou.

Apply for this year's Fund now!

Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, joined Derval O’Rourke and Paddy Barnes, this year’s Coca-Cola Thank You Fund ambassadors, to launch the funding opportunity.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Ring said: ‘The benefits of leading a more active healthy lifestyle cannot be overstated, and I am pleased to see the range of exciting and diverse activity projects that have come through the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund since its launch in 2011. From a ‘Trim Trail’ in Kerry to a community running group in Donegal, I commend the determination and commitment of these groups who are championing more activity across the country.

“I urge all non-profit organisations across the country to think about creative ways to get their communities more active and consider applying for funding from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund,” he added.

Derval O’Rourke and Paddy Barnes launched the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund today and encouraged people to log on to find out more.

Speaking at the launch, Derval O’Rourke said: “I’m delighted to return as an ambassador for the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund. The interest among non-profits last year was phenomenal and it’s great to see Coca-Cola making five grants of €25,000 available again in 2015. I’m hoping to uncover some fantastic community initiatives that make it possible for the public to access activity programmes within their locality, and would urge all organisations with ideas for ways we can all get more active to apply now.”

Joining Derval this year to launch the Fund, Paddy Barnes said: “At the moment I’m preparing for the Rio Olympic Games and my focus is on getting into the best shape possible and achieving my peak fitness level. I’m constantly struck by the level of interest there is out there in staying active – from fellow athletes, but also the wider public. The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is great because it’s giving people the opportunity to take part in physical activity in the communities where they live. For anyone who has an idea to get people moving, we want to hear from you! Apply for funding at coca-cola.ie/thankyou.”

Erica Roseingrave, Public Affairs and Communications Manager at Coca-Cola HBC Ireland, said: “This year we’d like to hear from a broad range of organizations with novel ideas to motivate their community, or indeed the whole country, to get moving. Projects can involve traditionally popular sports or newer forms of physical activity. Most importantly, we’re searching for organisations that have the passion and energy to get a new project off the ground and get people excited about taking part.”

“The Coca-Cola Thank You Fund launched in 2011 and we are proud to have granted half a million Euro in funding to more than 42 groups across Ireland and Northern Ireland to date. We supported five fantastic projects in 2014 and we hope to see their success replicated with five more this year.”

A new Kayak Instructor Training Initiative from Canoeing Ireland, which received one of five €25,000 grants awarded by the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund last year, also launched today. The project is partnering with five youth services to discover forty young people with the potential to be local activity leaders and is training them to become kayak instructors. The participants will receive intensive weekly training over the course of nine-months free of charge. Those who successfully complete the programme will be able to train hundreds of young people from disadvantaged areas in the sport of kayaking through the youth services.

Benny Cullen, Development Officer, Canoeing Ireland, said: “Canoeing Ireland was fortunate to receive €25,000 from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund in 2014. The funding was a real lifeline, as we couldn’t have gotten this initiative up and running without the support.

“The beauty of our project is that the training we provide will have a long-term impact, enabling our leaders to pass on their skills and love of kayaking to many more young people in the area. Hopefully in time some will train as leaders themselves. I would strongly encourage any organisation with a new idea to consider applying for funding this year. It has been a very rewarding experience for all involved from Caneoing Ireland”.

The deadline for applications is Monday 29th June at 6pm. After that, a shortlist of twelve organisations will be announced and those groups will be invited to meet the judging panel. The judges for the 2015 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund include:

•  Sarah O'Connor, CEO of The Federation of Irish Sport;
•  Roy Millar MBE, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Sports Forum;
•  Erica Roseingrave, Public Affairs and Communications Manager at Coca Cola Hellenic Ireland;
•  Susan Grady, board member at Ireland Active;
•  Niamh Gavin, Business Services Manager at The Wheel;
•  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.

The shortlisted organisations will present a 10-minute pitch to the judges about their project and why they think they should receive the funding, followed by a further 10-minute Q&A session with the panel. The five winning ideas will be announced in October 2015.

Applications for the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund 2015 can be made at www.coca-cola.ie/thankyou.

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For further information please contact:

Suzanne Sullivan
Q4 PR, 01-4751444/086-3797291

Cillian Murphy
Q4 PR, 01-4751444/086-4107750

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