The 2021 GAA Healthy Club Conference is to take place on Saturday, October 30th and will feature renowned psychologist Dr Tony Bates as well as Tyrone All Ireland winner Conor Meyler and a host of other GAA ambassadors and Healthy Clubs to explore the conference theme of ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’

The role of the GAA in offering meaningful connection, purpose, and social cohesion post-pandemic will be amongst the themes explored at the Conference which will take place in a virtual setting.

The free conference will use the evidence-based ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ framework – Connect, Be
Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give – to highlight the important contribution Healthy Clubs make to the wellbeing of their members and communities, and to explore how this can continue as the Healthy Club Project expands in 2022.

The event also marks the opening of expressions of interest for new clubs to get involved in the
Healthy Club Project, with the GAA Community and Health department setting a target of 200 new
clubs to join next year.

Almost 300 clubs are already accredited as official ‘Healthy Clubs’.

The Healthy Club Project is delivered in partnership with Irish Life (corporate social responsibility partners), Healthy Ireland, the HSE, the National Office for Suicide Prevention, and the Tomar Trust.

It aims to expand clubs’ positive influence as they broaden their remit from sports clubs to becoming hubs for health in their community. Conference attendees will get a flavour for what’s required of and available to a club that registers to participate in the Healthy Club Project.

They will also have an opportunity to experience some of the new initiatives that are being rolled out through the GAA’s Community and Health Department, including GAA Games for All (targeting diversity and inclusion), Social Games (recreational Gaelic Games), Green
Clubs (looking towards sustainability) and Youth Leadership.

Guest speakers will include Dr Tony Bates, one of the leading advocates of and authorities on youth mental health in Ireland; All Ireland winner and GAA/GPA Player of the Month for September, Tyrone’s Conor Meyler; six-time All Ireland winner Julia White; Cork U20 football manager, Keith Ricken and Ulster Wheelchair Camogie Player and Coach, Geraldine McGarrigle. The workshops will also be brought to life by inspiring Healthy Club case studies showcasing examples of Healthy Clubs in action.

“The success and growth of the Healthy Club Project is a testament to the power of volunteerism
and the support of our partners,” said GAA President Larry McCarthy.

“Its importance has never been more acute. I look forward to celebrating at the conference the success of our existing Healthy Clubs while encouraging other members to join us and be inspired to sign up their club for 2022.”

“Over the last 18 months, GAA club volunteers and supporters have done an incredible job looking
after their communities and helping everyone stay active,” added Declan Bolger, CEO of Irish Life Health.

“The GAA Healthy Clubs programme has been central to this fantastic effort and we are delighted that the Irish Life MyLife app was a part of this programme. The MyLife app allows people to challenge themselves in a fun way to improve their health and fitness levels. At Irish Life, we are proud to support this conference which will help Healthy Clubs to succeed and grow in 2022 and beyond.”

“One of the key actions of Healthy Ireland is to empower people and communities – this is at the
heart of the GAA’s Healthy Club Project,” concluded Tom James, Head of Healthy Ireland.

“The Project provides opportunities for communities to connect and look after their health and wellbeing. GAA clubs provide members with opportunities to develop their physical, social, emotional, and psychological health.”
“After recent times, we especially welcome the emphasis of the upcoming GAA Healthy Club’s
conference on mental health and the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ theme and we acknowledge the
commitment of members to this important agenda.”


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