The GAA in partnership with Irish Life and Healthy Ireland will host a free roadshow for all Leinster GAA clubs featuring an exciting mix of GAA stars plus local clubs that are already involved in the award winning Healthy Clubs Project (HCP).
Philly McMahon, Mickey Harte, Anna Geary and Michael Fennelly will all be contributing to the Leinster roadshow taking place in Croke Park on Saturday, March, 11 from 10am – 2pm.
The roadshow aims to inspire and empower more GAA clubs to support their members and communities in pursuit of better physical, social, and mental wellbeing by getting involved in the HCP.
Created in 2013, with the support of the HSE, National Office for Suicide Prevention, Irish Life and Healthy Ireland, the intention of the HCP is that every GAA club will become a hub for health and wellbeing. 60 clubs currently participate in phase 2 of the HCP, at least one in each county.
With support from the GAA’s new health and wellbeing structures, they are supported in how best to make their clubs more health-enhancing, covering a variety of topics including, physical activity; emotional wellbeing; health screening; healthy eating; drug, alcohol, and gambling education; anti-smoking; youth and community development, alongside providing activities for older members of the community.
The Healthy Club Roadshows aim to bring to life this work through the testimonies of four renowned GAA ambassadors, each one bringing to the fore their knowledge and experience of a specific health topic. Michael Fennelly (Kilkenny), Anna Geary (Cork) and Philly McMahon (Dublin) will facilitate discussions on physical activity, healthy eating, and mental health, respectively. Pulling the team together will be three-time All-Ireland winning Tyrone manager, Mickey Harte, who will highlight the importance of GAA clubs providing community engagement and support. An additional 4 clubs from the province (already involved in Phase 2 of the HCP) will showcase their exciting work in the areas of wellbeing outlined above.
The project has already run to huge success in 60 clubs nationally, hosting wide-ranging initiatives such as Dromard GAA Club’s ‘Recipes for Success’, a nutritional initiative run by Croke Park in conjunction with St Angela’s Home Economics Department, Sligo. Teenagers from the community joined forces in the local secondary school to educate themselves on the importance of healthy eating and fuelling their body correctly before and after training, games and exercise. The initiative aided club integration between the senior and minor club as well as teenagers in the locality, creating a more united club and community structure.
Speaking on the importance of healthy lifestyles, Anna Geary said, “I can understand playing a team sport might not be for everyone, but simple things like making the healthier choice and exercising more regularly are habits everyone should be forming at any age. Ireland’s obesity rates are amongst the highest in the world and rising, we’re in need of a programme like the GAA Healthy Clubs Project. It’s already having a hugely positive impact on people’s health around the country. It’s crucial that all clubs nationwide sign up and get involved in this movement towards a healthier, happier Ireland.”
Aogán Ó Fearghail, An Uachtarán Cumann Luthchleas Gael said, “GAA clubs have always supported the health of their communities. However, with the support of the HSE, the National Office for Suicide Prevention, the PHA, and Irish Life, the Healthy Clubs project is providing GAA members and their communities across the 32 counties with innovative new ways of enhancing their wellbeing on their terms, in their own back yards.”
Leading the call-out for increased participation in the programme is Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister of State for Health Promotion, Department of Health (ROI) who said, "The challenges facing our population are significant, so we need to have an impact across all of society to improve our collective health and wellbeing. As a national organisation working in every county and community, the GAA is an important partner in creating a healthier Ireland. The Healthy Club initiative, supported by Irish Life, is an exemplar of the partnership approach needed under Healthy Ireland. I was delighted to learn about the many initiatives underway at the GAA's recent Health and Wellbeing Conference in Croke Park and I wish them every success with the roadshow being launched today."
There are numerous benefits to clubs to take part in the GAA HCP including exclusive access to Healthy Club resources. The independent evaluation by Waterford IT’s Centre for Health Behaviour Research of Phase 1 of the HCP revealed its potential to increase membership, improvements in health promoting activities, better opportunity to link the local community with club activities and opening up new funding avenues all the while enhancing the health of the nation and ensuring a healthier future for everyone.
David Harney, CEO, Irish Life said, “Irish Life are delighted to work with the GAA on the Healthy Club initiative. The GAA, reaches into every community on the island of Ireland, and has a significant role to play in the health of the nation through its promotion of Gaelic Games. The association’s Healthy Club initiative brings a new dimension to this work. It enables people to access health in an exciting new way. We believe this work has the potential to improve the future health of communities across the country.”
If you or your club is interested in finding out more about how it can become a Healthy Club, or you want to learn more about some of the topics highlighted above, you can book up to four free places per club at your respective provincial Healthy Clubs roadshow by visiting: www.gaa.ie/community
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