Fáilte chuig gaa.ie - suíomh oifigiúil CLG
Healthy Club Recognition Day - Irish Life CEO David Harney presenting St Colmcilles GAA with their award
Healthy Club Recognition Day - Irish Life CEO David Harney presenting St Colmcilles GAA with their award

GAA Healthy Clubs – Get involved in the movement


Benefits and Opportunities for Clubs

Clubs who completed the pilot phases have been awarded and recognised as official “Healthy Clubs” which is completely ground breaking and the first of its kind in Ireland. 
The independent evaluation of the HCP cited the following benefits and opportunities which provides an evident based rationale on why a club should get involved:

  • Exclusive access to Healthy Club resources 
  • Increase in membership
  • Improvements in the health promoting activities of clubs specifically with club policy, practice and the club environment (both physical and cultural).
  • Opportunity to share learnings and experience with other like – minded clubs
  •  Changes in attitudes towards health for the better
  • Better engagement with club activities
  • Opening up funding avenues
  • Better opportunity to link the local community with club activities
  • Sense of achievement 
  • Set a positive example
  • Networking opportunities
  • Increase in media coverage both locally and nationally 
  • Part of a grounding breaking project, first of its kind in Europe.  
  • Recognition by the GAA and the Health Service Executive (approved by Healthy Ireland)



The HCP was created in 2013 and has grown from the genesis of an idea for a small pilot into a programme heralded as an exemplar of the Healthy Ireland framework in action.

The HCP has been rolled out in phased cycles (see diagram below) to ensure that the model and resources are evaluated and fit for purpose. Clubs selected to participate in the pilot phases were representative of the entire GAA spectrum (large/small clubs, urban/rural clubs, clubs offering various codes etc.) These exemplar clubs have been recognised for their efforts and been awarded with Official “Healthy Club” status, a first of its kind in Ireland.

Further Phases will open on a cyclical basis (see diagram below) and interested clubs will be invited to apply via the GAA’s Community and Health website http://www.gaa.ie/my-gaa/community-and-health/  Due to capacity Phase 3 will remain a controlled pilot with the aim to open up expressions of interest to all GAA clubs in Ireland in 2020. 
For more information contact Aoife O’Brien, National Healthy Club Coordinator aoife.obrien@gaa.ie 






2013 (Q1) – 2015 (Q3)

18 (16 completed)

Covering 4 provinces


2016 (Q1) – 2017 (Q3)

60 (58 completed)

At least one club covering 32 counties


2018 (Q1) – 2019 (Q3)

Aim: 150 (at least 3 in each county)


2020 (Q1 – 2021 (Q3)

Aim: Open expressions of interest to all 1,600 GAA clubs (target an additional 150 in Phase 4)


Healthy Club Recognition:

Clubs will be awarded official “Healthy Club” status upon completion of all steps via the online Healthy Club portal. As part of this process clubs are required to implement 2 priority areas during an 18 month cycle and adopt the GAA’s Critical Incidence Response Plan (CIRP). 

Popular topics include healthy eating; becoming a smoke-free club; physical activity for non-playing members; engaging older members of the community; emotional wellbeing; gambling, drug, and alcohol education; and inclusion and integration (including the provision of recreational Games for All). Practical case studies from the pilot clubs are provided as a support.

It is important to note that the process is continuous and doesn’t end after the final step. Healthy Club is not a destination but an ongoing journey to support member’s health and wellbeing and create an overall healthy culture and ethos within the club. 

Healthy Clubs recognition periods occur every two years (Q3) where clubs receive official recognition upon completion of all steps via the online Healthy Club portal. Clubs document their progress on the portal which is monitored for recognition purposes and supported through club visits, enabling the project’s impact to be measured. The portal also allows clubs to share their experiences and learnings.

Healthy Club Renewal:

Clubs with official “Healthy Club” status will be required to renew their status every two years. This will involve a review of the Healthy Club process and implementation of a further two priority areas. For example, if a club focuses on healthy eating and physical activity for non-playing members first time round they may explore becoming a smoke- free club and promoting emotional wellbeing second time round. This will obviously depend on the need in the club and community as well as the club’s capacity and support system. 

Clubs are supported along the way by their respective County Health & Wellbeing Committee and the Community & Health Department and National Healthy Club Coordinator in Croke Park. 

Clubs not involved in the pilot phases:

Clubs outside the pilot project can still follow the Steps to Becoming a Healthy Club and apply for the official recognition in Q3 2021 (Phase 4 completion). After Phase 4 the intention is that all clubs can apply, access the portal and document their journey and apply for official recognition.

It is crucial that clubs are making contact with their County Health & Wellbeing Committees in advance of applying. They can be contacted at the generic email address below: chair.hwc.COUNTY@gaa.ie



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