National Club Forum takes place on Saturday
The first GAA National Club Forum will take place at Croke Park on Saturday.
The event is organised by the GAA National Club Committee which was formed this year, and a series of workshops will be held throughout the day to assist club officers.
“The Uachtaran set up the National Club Committee, we conducted a survey of clubs to which there was a mighty response,” GAA National Club Committee Chairman Mick Rock explains. “As a follow on from that we are having the forum to tease out the issues raised in it a little bit further.
“We have been established since just before the summer, we've had meetings basically every few weeks. Our focus for the first number of months was getting this survey compiled, out there, getting it promoted while it was out there, getting it back before going through all of the data trying to make sense of it.
“Since then we have been busy putting together a format for a forum where club personnel will have a chance to engage and I suppose air their issues to see where we can find areas where improvements can be affected.”
Speaking in advance of Saturday’s event, Uachtarán Horan said: “We are well aware of the challenges that are being faced by our clubs and by our volunteers. The significant response to the survey that was carried out further highlighted this.
“The purpose of Saturday is to meet and to listen to clubs and to assure them that we are committed to working with them to address all of their issues and to plan for the future.”
Rock is encouraged by the response of clubs thus far and is hopeful that the National Club Committee can make a significant impact.
“Like all initiatives we don't expect it to just blossom overnight,” Rock states. “It is something that we hope to build on and it will become a permanent feature of the association going forward with direct contact between the clubs and organisation as a means of helping them become more empowered and helped out.”
Running and maintaining a successful club is a huge task presently so finding ways to assist in areas such as volunteer recruitment and retention, finance, communicating and promoting, fixtures, and demographics is critical.
“From an administration point of view a whole pile of new things have come down the tracks,” Rock acknowledges. “There are responsibilities regarding child protection, GDPR, Health and Safety that are new and are becoming more central. For volunteers that can be a big burden to have to cope with all of that.
“The Uachtaran John Horan will open it and the main focus of the day is five workshops.
“One on finance, one on fixtures, one on demographics in terms of clubs getting too big and others struggling to survive, one on volunteering and another on communication. Those are the areas in which the clubs are going to engage and we will see what the different issues are.”