Photo above shows Kerrie Wickham (Oulart-The Ballagh), Breda Flood (Oulart-The Ballagh), Angela McCormack (Na Fianna Clonard), Caroline Kavanagh (Castletown-Liam Mellows), and Sandra Clare (Castletown-Liam Mellows).
In recognition of their exceptional contributions to the health and wellbeing of their members and local communities, six GAA clubs from across County Wexford have been awarded official accreditation as Irish Life GAA Healthy Clubs.
This milestone follows almost two years of work by the teams of volunteers in each club, who give up their free time to make the GAA and Ireland a healthier place for everyone to enjoy.
The Irish life GAA Healthy Clubs programme marks its tenth anniversary in 2023. It has grown from a small pilot featuring 16 clubs in 2013 to having engaged 450 clubs to date. In the interim, it has gained national and international recognition as an exemplary programme for the delivery of health promotion through a sports club setting.
In 2022-23, Healthy Clubs delivered 2,389 initiatives reaching 184,598 participants, many of whom never had any prior connection to their local GAA club. This level of growth and impact could not have been achieved without the long-term support of its title sponsors Irish Life, with further support from the Tomar Trust, the HSE, the National Office for Suicide Prevention, and Healthy Ireland.
The most common areas of work delivered by clubs were:
- Physical activity, such as walking initiatives, exercise classes, and social Gaelic Games.
- Community development, including supporting older members of the community, youth leadership and supporting local charities, etc
- Mental health awareness and education.
- Diversity and inclusion, including games opportunities for persons with additional needs and LGTBQ+ allyship.
- Substance use and gambling awareness, including smoke- and vape-free clubs
- Healthy eating.
Over an 18-month period, clubs must match certain criteria to achieve official accreditation as a ‘Healthy Club’, and they can strive towards foundation, silver, or gold level awards.
Wexford Silver Award recipients:
- Castletown-Liam Mellows
- Oulart-The Ballagh
Wexford Foundation Award recipients:
- Rathnure St. Anne’s
- St. John’s Volunteers
- Na Fianna Clonard
An t-Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, Larry McCarthy, said:
“Congratulations to the clubs and their members who are receiving their Healthy Club recognition. The GAA is synonymous with games, but we are about so much more than that, serving the people in the communities where our clubs operate.
The Irish Life GAA Healthy Club Project recognises standards of excellence in the enormous breadth of work undertaken by our clubs off the field in diverse areas from healthy eating and exercise, social and recreational games, to inclusion initiatives, mental health well being and awareness programmes around alcohol, substance abuse and suicide, to name only a few. This work, on top of the games we promote, embeds our clubs in communities. We take this leadership role and responsibility very seriously and our Community and Health team at Croke Park are increasing the number of clubs achieving official Healthy Club recognition every year. Comhghairdeas libh agus thar ceann CLG, míle buíochas.”
Declan Bolger, CEO, Irish Life said:
“Congratulations to all of the clubs being awarded their official Irish Life GAA Healthy Clubs recognition.
Irish Life is proud to partner with the programme since 2015 and we commend the efforts and work of the Healthy Clubs officers and volunteers throughout the country. The clubs participating are encouraging a healthier Ireland, bringing communities together to increase physical, social, and emotional health. This is particularly evident during Ireland Lights Up and the Irish Life GAA Healthy Clubs Steps Challenge, these initiatives are measurably increasing health and sense of connection and inclusion in communities nationwide.”
Expressions of Interest for the Irish Life GAA Healthy Clubs programme will open in late November 2023, where all interested GAA, LGFA and Camogie Clubs will be invited to apply.
For more information regarding the Healthy Club Project please visit https://www.gaa.ie/my-gaa/community-and-health/