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£100,000 is available for good projects

By Staff Reporter

A life without exercise is unimaginable to Northern Ireland's champion sportswoman Melanie Nocher.

The 25-year-old former Olympic swimmer from Holywood, Co Down, knows the importance of exercise for physical and mental health, and is urging communities to apply for a grant to get people moving.

More than £100,000 in funding is available through the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund for projects promoting physical activity.

Voluntary and non-profit organisations wanting to kickstart new programmes encouraging people to become more active could win £20,000 to get them up and running.

Fund ambassador Melanie told the Belfast Telegraph she wanted people from all types of project and background to embrace this opportunity.

"It's not just for big organisations," she said.

"Anyone with ideas about getting your community moving should apply."

Melanie, who is currently thinking about embracing triathlon, used to spend at least 30 hours in the pool each week.

"I don't think anything could be more brutal than 14 sessions a week," she said.

"It was very intense but I don't regret it. Swimming has taught me so much and given me so many opportunities.

"With Swim for a Mile we got 1,000 people signed up and there were three coaching sessions in five locations across Ireland."

The deadline for Thank You Fund entries is Monday, June 16.

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