Clubs encouraged to apply for GAA Healthy Club Project

The Community & Health team in Croke Park is looking to recruit at least one club from each county to join the 16 clubs that participated in Phase 1 (which ran from 2013 to 2015). Expressions of interest forms and full application details are available at www.gaa.ie/community/healthy-club-project/. The deadline is Friday, January 29, 2016.

The Healthy Club Project was started in 2013 to better support GAA clubs in responding to and supporting the health and wellbeing of their members and the wider community they serve. It involves a partnership with the HSE and is supported by Healthy Ireland, Sport Ireland, and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. Irish Life has come onboard for three years with a CSR investment of €1m to help Phase 2 it achieve its full potential.

GAA clubs already contribute greatly to the health and wellbeing of their members by providing opportunities to develop their physical, social, emotional, and psychological health. However, the HCP aims to assist clubs in this important work, help them identify areas where they would like to improve, and empower them to ensure that everyone who engages with their club benefits from the experience in a health-enhancing way.

Phase 2 will run for 18 months, during which time selected clubs will enjoy exclusive access to Healthy Club resources and supports. They will also help to ensure the project is properly evaluated and that each of the resources are fit for purpose.

Phase 1 clubs reported increased membership, better member engagement with club activities, improvements in health promoting activities, strengthened links with the local community, and opening up new funding avenues. They also implemented a range of activities involving exciting partnerships and policies that placed wellbeing at the heart of the clubs’ ethos. Areas of work included physical activity, emotional wellbeing, health screening, anti-bullying, diet and nutrition, inclusion, drug and alcohol awareness, life skill and personal development, anti-smoking, facilities development, and engagement with older community members.

An independent report carried out by a team from Waterford IT outlined key outcomes and recommendations for clubs moving into phase 2. The full report can be found here: http://gaa.ie/community/healthy-club-project/phase-1-evaluation-report/

Many of the Phase 1 Healthy Clubs gained local and national recognition for their efforts. Castleblayney Faughs picked up the Irish Sports Club of the Year award at the Sports Industry Awards earlier in November, having already been announced Ulster GAA Club of the Year 2014. Its ‘Operation TransFAUGHmation’ is empowering hundreds from their local area to take ownership of their health in a fun, collective way. (This brilliant video captures how – https://www.gaa.ie/gaa-news-and-videos/daily-news/1/0611151730-castleblayney-faughs-claim-club-of-the-year-award/).

The St. Finbarr’s and Midleton clubs were awarded joint first place in the national Health Management Institute awards 2014 by the Minister for Health for their ground-breaking ‘Cork Beats Stress’ six-week programme. Rolled out in partnership with the HSE’s psychological services it benefitted hundreds of people in their catchment areas. St. Colmcille’s GAA club was awarded REHAB Community group of the year in Meath and was awarded seed funding from the GENIO Foundation to support its unique ‘How are you Today?’ community mental health outreach programme. St. John’s Volunteer’s, Wexford, became the country’s first completely smoke-free GAA club.

Phase 2 will commence this February and will run until June 2017 (18 month cycle). Interested clubs can register their interest at http://gaa.ie/community/healthy-club-project/get-involved/.

All applications welcomed until close of business on Friday the 29th of January.

For more information on the project please go to our FAQ section on the GAA website http://gaa.ie/community/healthy-club-project/get-involved/faqs/.

For more information please contact: Aoife O’Brien, National Healthy Club Coordinator on aoife.obrien@gaa.ie or call 018192954

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