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Free sports equipment for city parks


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Free sports equipment  for city parks Free sports equipment  for city parks

Lockers with free-to-use sports and leisure equipment are to be rolled out across 12 city parks in the coming months, with the first to be installed at Westside Playing Fields in May.

The Mayor, Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG), confirmed this week that the lockers, which have been developed by Swiss company BoxUp, will be installed in an effort to improve access to sports.

Funding for the majority of the locker units had been secured through the Community Recognition Fund, said Mayor Hoare, which was made available to communities where accommodation centres for asylum seekers had been located.

“The initial plan was to install two of these units under Active Cities funding with Galway Sports Partnership. Now funding has been secured from the first round of the Community Recognition Fund for another 10, which means they will be in most public parks across the city,” he said.

The lockers are accessible using a phone app, to which users sign up, before using an QR code on the lockers to access the equipment held inside.

Mayor Hoare said the contents of the lockers will depend on the location, but likely items include footballs, basketballs, tennis rackets and balls, and hurls and sliotars – all depending on the facilities at each location.

“People will be able to sign up on the app and there is no payment required. All you will have to give to sign up is a photo of your ID.

“When you scan the code, you get use of the item for three hours. If someone goes to the locker and there’s something missing, they are able to report it and it will be relayed back to Galway Sports Partnership by the Swiss operators,” said the Fine Gael councillor.

“The Sports Partnership will replenish the lockers if anything is lost, like tennis balls or other things that might go missing. You can report if something gets lost, and because people will have given their ID, it will be recorded who has borrowed from the lockers,” he continued.

The model is based on inclusivity, said Mayor Hoare, and it will be an opportunity for all to have access to equipment.

“We know that, for some, accessing equipment can be a real barrier to participation. With so many facilities, parks and open spaces across our city, it’s important we try to meet the needs of individuals to enable them to be active and participate in sports,” he said.

The first lockers will be in place in Westside by the end of next month, said the Mayor, with the remainder to be installed in the coming months.

Pictured: BoxUp lockers in a Dublin park, similar to the ones to be rolled out in Galway. Users will get access to the equipment through an app on their phone.

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