Healthy Club Recognition

November 9th, 2017 | Uncategorized

Healthy Club Recognition

Cavan Gaels and Killygarry amongst the first official GAA Healthy Clubs to receive national recognition

  • The award winning Healthy Clubs Project (HCP) aims to turn clubs into hubs for health in their communities
  • With almost the same number of GAA clubs as GPs across Ireland, the project offers a new setting in which to deliver health promotion and interventions[i]
  • Leading GAA ambassador Seán Cavanagh strongly commends the club for their leadership

 

4 November 2017: A special ceremony with governmental representation in Croke Park today saw 58 GAA clubs recognised as the first official ‘Healthy Clubs’ on the island of Ireland.

Two Cavan GAA clubs, Cavan Gaels and Killgarry can now proudly fly a flag above their grounds (endorsed by both Healthy Ireland and the Public Health Agency in NI), letting their members and communities know that they value health and wellbeing as much as leagues and championships.

In January 2016, almost 100 clubs applied to participate in Phase 2 of the project (just 16 participated in Phase 1 between 2013-2015). Many cited the dearth of services in their communities that are tackling issues such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, mental health and suicide. They wanted to be part of the solution.

Clubs engage with their members and community before identifying health themes upon which to focus on. Most common include healthy eating; physical activity for non-playing members; emotional wellbeing; engaging older members of the community; youth development; smoke free clubs; gambling, drug, and alcohol education; and inclusion and integration.

These two progressive GAA clubs are the first in Cavan to receive national recognition and despite their rivalry on the field they have collaborated on numerous Healthy Club initiatives over the last two years. Cavan Gaels made history earlier in the year when they launched their complete smoke free policy, the first of its kind in Cavan. Terry Coyle Park is now the picture of health decorated with smoke free signage (provided by the GAA through a CSR partnership with Irish Life) ensuring members and visitors are aware of the club’s commitment to health. The aim of the policy is to set a positive example, create a healthier club environment and to reduce smoking initiation rates amongst young members. Cavan Gales have inspired neighbouring Healthy Club, Killygarry who will follow suit in the coming months.

Killygarry GAA recently had 106 members from their running group take part in the Dublin City Marathon. The successful running group has over 150 members who train at the club grounds three times per week. The sessions, led by Peter Walsh cater for all fitness levels from beginners upwards.  The aim of the running group is to increase fitness levels, encourage participation and social engagement in a relaxed and fun environment. The club have organised and assisted with several 5km runs as part of the HCP, including Cavan Town Night Run, Ras Spraoi and the 5km Christmas Dash. Killygarry has also coordinated running classes for the three primary schools in the club catchment area with over 100 pupils participating twice weekly.

Former Tyrone football captain Seán Cavanagh is a big supporter of the GAA’s Healthy Club Project (HCP) and presented the clubs with their official flag and plaque in Croke Park on Saturday, November 4th. He said “I’ve seen myself how the GAA brings communities together in so many different ways so it’s fantastic to see the association taking a leadership role in developing healthier communities. The Healthy Clubs around the country are having a positive impact on so many children and young people and as a parent I think it is fantastic. Through this project I think people will start to appreciate the role of the GAA in our communities even more.”

 

The innovative Healthy Club model was developed in partnership with Healthy Ireland, the HSE’s health promotion division, the National Office for Suicide Prevention, and is supported by Irish Life through a CSR investment. In an era of unprecedented societal health challenges, the Healthy Club Project aims to harness the potential of the GAA club setting to deliver evidence-based health promotion information and interventions, backed up by appropriate policies and partnerships. Its potential to be replicated by other sports is currently being explored by a working group involving the FAI, IRFU, and Athletics Ireland.

Similar work is being undertaken across European sports associations, and for the past three years the GAA has contributed its learnings to the EU-wide Sports Clubs for Health project. This culminated with the GAA’s Community & Health manager, Colin Regan, presenting on the Healthy Club project to a sub-committee of the EU Parliament in Brussels in April.

The Healthy Clubs project is being independently evaluated by a team from Waterford IT’s Centre for Health Behaviour Research. While the final report into Phase 2 won’t be available until December, the research team have already noted significant successes (see editor’s notes for examples of successful interventions).

Aogán Ó Fearghail, An Uachtarán Cumann Luthchleas Gael said, “The 58 Healthy Clubs recognised today have gone above and beyond what is normally expected of a sports club. Health and wellbeing is core to what the GAA is all about and these clubs help bring that to life. I’d like to thank our partners, Healthy Ireland, the HSE, National Office for Suicide Prevention, the Public Health Agency, and Irish Life, for helping to make the Healthy Club project the success it is. We look forward to growing it from strength to strength.”

Recognising the achievements of the clubs in Croke Park at the Healthy Club Recognition Event is Catherine Byrne, Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Department of Health (ROI). She said, “Today is all about recognition for the clubs and the volunteers who make this happen at club level. I would like to congratulate all of the clubs and volunteers involved and acknowledge the contribution that they are all making to bring the vision for Healthy Ireland to life: where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential”

 

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.”

 

There are numerous benefits to clubs that take part in the GAA HCP including exclusive access to Healthy Club resources and support. 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.

The GAA hope to extend the project to 150 clubs in Phase 3 (with expressions of interest to open in early 2018) before opening the project to all interested clubs in 2020. There are 1,600 clubs in Ireland and over 400 abroad.

For more information, visit: www.gaa.ie/community

Follow: @officialgaa or Like: www.facebook.com/officialgaa/ #gaahealth

 

– ENDS –

 

 

For more information or to request an interview please contact:

 

Wilson Hartnell:

Emma Walsh, Tel: 0873170897 or E: emma.walsh@ogilvy.com

Amber Brown, Tel: 087 779 9719 or E: amber.brown@ogilvy.com

 

 

Cavan Gaels GAA Club, Co. Cavan Case Study

‘Recipes for Success – Healthy Eating’

As well as becoming a complete smoke free zone Cavan Gaels also took part in Recipes for Success; a nutritional performance initiative ran by Croke Park in conjunction with St. Angela’s Home Economics Department in Sligo. The initiative is targeted at minor players, both girls and boys who 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 in general. The participants from the club really enjoyed the practical Recipes for Success programme and developed confidence and competencies in areas of nutrition and health. Each participant received a copy of the fantastic Recipes for Success booklet which is filled with performance enhancing delicious recipes, as well as pre/post meals and snacks. This resource can be downloaded online at http://www.gaa.ie/my-gaa/community-and-health/

 

Killygarry GAA Club, Co. Cavan Case Study

Killygarry Running Group

Killygarry GAA recently had 106 members from their running group take part in the Dublin City Marathon. The successful running group has over 150 members who train at the club grounds three times per week. The sessions, led by Peter Walsh cater for all fitness levels from beginners upwards.  The aim of the running group is to increase fitness levels, encourage participation and social engagement in a relaxed and fun environment. The club have organised and assisted with several 5km runs as part of the HCP, including Cavan Town Night Run, Ras Spraoi and the 5km Christmas Dash. Killygarry has also coordinated running classes for the three primary schools in the club catchment area with over 100 pupils participating twice weekly.

 

The two clubs have worked in collaboration on a number of events and initiatives including the joint Healthy Club Launch on Lá na gClubanna 2016 with GAA President, Aogán Ó Fearghaíl in attendance and Safe Talk (Suicide Alertness for Everyone), a half day training programme that prepares participants over the age of 18 to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to a suicide first aid resource. Killgarry are also in the process of becoming a smoke free GAA club, inspired by the positive example set in Cavan Gaels.

 

 

[i] Health Service Executive – http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/2/gp/ – Last Accessed October 2017