Irish Life has extended its partnership with the GAA Healthy Clubs programme, expanding the sponsorship element from what was originally a corporate social responsibility play.
The brand has previously been more of a background supporter but will now be a more visible partner. The subtle change has been brokered by The Brand Fans.
The new partnership was announced today at Croke Park and will run for four years. It will also facilitate up to 400 additional clubs in joining the innovative and impactful Irish Life GAA Healthy Clubs programme.
The new announcement extends Irish Life’s support of the GAA Healthy Clubs to over ten years and brings the total investment to more than €3.5 million.
Since launching as a small pilot involving just 16 clubs in 2013, the programme has to date engaged 300 clubs and tens of thousands of participants.
An additional 175 clubs will commence their Healthy Club journey in February 2022 while a further 200 clubs will join the growing movement in January 2024. The goal is that ultimately the programme will reach all GAA clubs.
Club members and communities identify their own priority activities from physical activity and social Gaelic Games to mental health, healthy eating, diversity and inclusion.
Others have engaged with older members of the community, youth leadership, gambling, drug and alcohol awareness, becoming smoke-free clubs, and sustainability.
The Irish Life Healthy Clubs gained significant visibility during the pandemic. Due to the structures that they had already implemented, Healthy Clubs were amongst the first GAA clubs to coordinate the delivery of vital essential supplies to those forced to self-isolate during the first lockdown.
Two Irish Life Healthy Clubs Steps Challenges (in June 2020 and January/February 2021) also provided 40,000 participants across 700 GAA clubs with a fun-focused way to stay active and connected while the country was locked down. Collectively, they recorded over 7.7 billion steps.
“Irish Life has been a valued partner to the GAA for many years, so I am thrilled to announce the extension of this long-standing and impactful relationship,” said President Larry McCarthy.
“Irish Life GAA Healthy Clubs supports our clubs in becoming hubs for health while ensuring that as many people as possible from their local community benefit from their diverse Healthy Club activities.”
“As a community-based, volunteer-led association, this is a major priority for the GAA, and the levels of engagement we have achieved to date simply wouldn’t have been possible without Irish Life.”
“At Irish Life, we help people build better futures, so we are extremely pleased to be extending our relationship with the GAA Healthy Clubs,” added CEO Declan Bolger.
“Having been involved with the Healthy Clubs since 2015, we know that the entire community benefits when a local club is provided with the skills, information and guidance to improve health. We’ve seen this programme go from strength to strength since our initial involvement, and I’m really excited to see how the programme develops in the coming year as we move towards almost 500 clubs across the country engaged in Healthy Clubs.”
Niamh O’Sullivan, All Ireland senior football championship winner with Meath in 2021 and William O’Donoghue from Na Piarsaigh GAA Club in Limerick, are on board as ambassadors for the programme in 2022.
Sport for Business Perspective
Getting to the grassroots is what every brand wants to ensure and this puts Irish Life more firmly on the radar within the GAA. Getting the balance right between doing the right thing and claiming credit for it is one of the challenges of crossing between community and commercial but this has great promise to be very impactful.
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