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Several initiatives were set up by St Oliver Plunkett Eoghan Ruadh GAA club.
Several initiatives were set up by St Oliver Plunkett Eoghan Ruadh GAA club.

Healthy Club Project Application deadline extended 

St. Oliver Plunkett Eoghan Ruadh GAA Club, Dublin, were one of 84 clubs to complete Phase 3 of the Healthy Club Project (HCP) and are now recognised as an official ‘Healthy Club’.

The work over the 18-month journey not only benefitted the hundreds of people that engaged with their wide variety of initiatives and events, it also greatly enhanced the club, according to the Healthy Club Officer, Trisha Maher.

The GAA’s Community & Health department is currently recruiting an additional 150 clubs to commence on February 1st, 2020, this exciting project when a national orientation day will be hosted in Croke Park. (150 clubs have been engaged to date, multiples in each county.) Due to demand, the deadline for expressions of interest to participate has been extended to Friday, November 29th. To apply, click here.

Below, Trish Maher, discusses the positive impact of the Healthy Club Project on both their club and community.

“Following our involvement in the Healthy Club Project I firmly believe we are now a hub for people in the community as well as sports club,” explains Trisha.

Over the 18 months, the club completed an incredible 11 initiatives, although feedback from all participating clubs shows that the average is five over the same timeframe. That is despite a requirement that clubs demonstrate activity in two areas of health promotion over the 18-month cycle of the HCP. The Plunkett’s made available to their members the following opportunities:

· Ireland Lights Up – a 6-week walking initiative that coincides with RTE’s Operation Transformation

· Three separate Couch to 5Ks programmes

· Diabetes and Cholesterol testing for members

· A cookery demonstration

· Tai-Chi classes

· Stress management for exam students

· Jigsaw’s One Good Coach mental health training programme

· Mind Matters 2 – a large mental health seminar

· Pieta House’s ‘Darkness Into Light’ walk and community breakfast

“Undertaking initiatives focusing on mental health was incredibly important for us. After completing a survey in the community (150 people responded), mental health was the top priority for 80% of the people,” Trisha notes. All Healthy Clubs are required to engage with their members and their communities to inform their Healthy Club activities. This ensures that the club is responding to an identified need and encourages greater buy-in from club members and beyond.

“As a result of our ‘Mind Matters 2’ event, there is much more openness in the club and the community. All the events have helped reduce the stigma within our community and people are talking about mental health more freely. Guest speakers such as Jim Lucey, Medical Director in St Patrick's Mental Health Services, and Kenneth Egan, Olympic Silver Medallist, really brought the event to life,” Trisha recalls.

“Being recognised as an Official GAA Healthy Club is very important for St. Oliver Plunkett’s and we are delighted to have achieved this. Before commencing this journey, the club would have completed some initiatives for our community such as bridge and Irish dancing, however health and wellbeing wasn’t as visible in the community as it is now.

“We have engaged members of our community from all walks of life through our Healthy Club initiatives from children to members over the ages of 80 years old, it has been a truly transformative experience for our community.”

Based on their experiences, St. Oliver Plunkett’s has the following advice for Phase 4 applicants:

· Keep it simple and do it well - plan and complete two required initiatives and only build on these if you have the capacity

· Complete a survey or community consultation to ensure you are responding to the needs of your members and community

· Use the resources and expertise already available in your club to form a strong Healthy Club project team

· Ensure you have support from your Club Executive

Expressions of interest is open until Friday November 29th 2019. 150 clubs will be chosen to commence in phase 4 and successful clubs will be notified by Friday December 20th, 2019.

Apply here now!

Email community.health@gaa.ie and we will try to answer any queries you have!

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