Irish Squash has seen an increase in participation thanks to the Sport NI Sports Systems Investment New Governing Bodies programme.

767 participants took part in numerous initiatives running from January to March after receiving a £24,460 investment.

Made possible thanks to National Lottery players, the initiatives were a huge success in welcoming a diverse range of people to the sport, building on the excitement of Squash being added as an Olympic sport for Los Angeles 2028.

The funding facilitated 12 activities across Northern Ireland in Belfast, Lisburn, Craigavon, Cookstown and Ballymena and saw 767 people take part including 188 Juniors, 35 Students, 212 Women and 36 from the LGBTQ+ community.

One of the standout successes was the re-opening of Ballymena Squash Club which had been closed for 25 years. The club has already seen 32 members sign up since January!

The success continued off the squash court with increased revenue from higher participation of previously underused squash courts across council facilities.

Thanks to the investment, Irish Squash was also able to run coaching courses which will increase the number of future programmes and improved their governance of policies and procedures as a Governing Body.

Participants shared their thoughts starting with Lisa who attended an open session at Shankill Leisure Centre, she said: “Even though it was new to me, I was addicted to it and now take my two sons and nephew! I loved my Wednesday evenings playing squash so much that my family bought me a racquet for Mother’s Day!”

Parents at a Junior Squash session said: “My son loved the squash sessions. He had never tried it before. When I asked him, he said he would try it again and that it was fun. The leaders were good at explaining everything and made it fun!”

A new stream of our Sports Systems Investment New Governing Bodies funding is now available to organisations that don’t currently avail of funding through our main Sports Systems Investment programme.

The New Governing Bodies investment is to help recognised governing bodies with a maximum award of £20,000 to aid participation levels, maintain a skilled workforce and/or embed good governance practices.

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Sport NI’s Sports System Investment programme is made possible thanks to National Lottery players who raise more than £30m for good causes each week.