GAA Clubs Delivering on Health

An independent evaluation by the Centre for Health Behaviour Research at Waterford IT, has revealed that the GAA Healthy Club Project (HCP) is showing significant and lasting improvements to the health of communities across Ireland.

The evidence that programmes are working has supported the call made yesterday for a third wave of clubs to join the 58 who have been through the programme so far.

“Those clubs alone delivered over 350 programmes over the past eighteen months and have proven to be a real winner for clubs and their communities,” GAA Community and Health Manager Colin Regan told Sport for Business yesterday.

“It is drawing new people into the volunteer world of their club and the whole association is feeling the benefit of that.”

The Healthy Club Project began in 2013, in partnership with Healthy Ireland, the HSE, the National Office for Suicide Prevention, and supported by Irish Life.

Programmes

Its aim then was to make every GAA club in Ireland a hub for health, capable of providing their members and communities with programmes that support their physical, emotional, and social well-being.

Now that this has clearly been seen to work it has prompted all of the partners, including Irish Life Health to recommit for an expanded roll out over the next two years.

“The target now is to get to 150 clubs and to keep those who have been through the programme active in developing it,” added Regan.

“The initiatives we have encouraged and seen come to fruition across the country include specific ones on physical activity, healthy eating, mental fitness, gambling, alcohol and drug education, training and personal development, anti-bullying, anti-smoking and community development.”

“The range of benefits is impressive way beyond Ireland as well and we have had a lot of interest from sporting bodies across Europe in terms of how to move from a standpoint that is purely about getting people moving towards one where the whole of an individuals life within their community is being catered for.”

Join us on Thursday morning at the Marker Hotel for Breakfast with sporting and business leaders as we look ahead to the Sporting Year with Paraic Duffy of the GAA, Pat Keogh of Leopardstown Racecourse, Sue Ronan of the FAI, Diarmaid Murphy of the GAA and with Kelli O’Keefe of Teneo PSG delivering insight on the relationship between sport and the Irish public. Reserve your place here.

One of the programmes put in place by a number of the clubs shows the benefits and how they have been measured in order to test their real impact is the “Men on the Move” programme.

Run over a 12-week period, developed and funded by the HSE, the programme is aimed at to promoting physical activity and general well-being among men over the age of 30.

The 12-week results of the Healthy Club participants showed an average weight loss of 2kg, and an average waist circumference drop of 3-4 cm, maintained at the 26-week check. There was also a one-minute improvement in the time to complete one mile.

Participants also recorded improvements to their social and emotional wellbeing. The programme brought men together and provided them with the opportunity to exercise at their own pace while developing new friendships.

Some of the personal experiences reported by the men included enhanced confidence, communication and self-care.

“The GAA clubs that have already taken part in the Healthy Club Project are leading the charge and have already made a hugely positive contribution to the communities they serve,” said Simon Harris speaking at the formal launch of the next phase.”

“The Government recently launched the Healthy Ireland 2018 campaign by which we want to encourage people to make positive choices to improve their physical and mental health.”

“These positive choices are based around three key areas – eating more healthily, being more active, and minding our mental wellbeing.”

Example

“The Healthy Club Project is a great example of one of our key sporting organisations working in partnership with the health sector to help people achieve these positive changes.”

“Health and wellbeing is core to what the GAA is all about and the Healthy Club Project aims to build on this by making our clubs hubs for health that everyone can experience and enjoy,” added GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail.

The support of Irish Life Health has allowed the rollout of the programme to take place through greater central support from Croke Park.

“The Healthy Club Project is a natural fit with Irish Life’s vision,” said CEO David Harney speaking yesterday.

“We want to help people build better futures. Since 1884, the GAA has been Irelands largest sporting organisation and with almost the same number of GAA clubs as GPs across Ireland, the Healthy Club Project is the ideal forum through which to deliver health messages, and initiatives.”

“There is a natural synergy between Irish Life and the Healthy Club Project and we’re delighted to continue to support such an important initiative.”

Clubs can apply to participate in the Healthy Club Project by completing the online form on www.gaa.ie/community. The closing date is Monday, January 29th.

Join us on Thursday morning at the Marker Hotel for Breakfast with sporting and business leaders as we look ahead to the Sporting Year with Paraic Duffy of the GAA, Pat Keogh of Leopardstown Racecourse, Sue Ronan of the FAI, Diarmaid Murphy of the GAA and with Kelli O’Keefe of Teneo PSG delivering insight on the relationship between sport and the Irish public. Reserve your place here.

Sign up today for our free daily news digest covering the commercial world of sport or discover the benefits of becoming a full member alongside the many leading organisations whom we serve.

Similar Articles