A healthy re­sult for Castletown GAA

Gorey Guardian - - NEWS - By FIN­TAN LAMBE

TWO Co Wex­ford GAA clubs are among the first in the coun­try to re­ceive national recog­ni­tion as GAA Healthy Clubs.

St John’s Vol­un­teers in Wex­ford town and Castletown Liam Mel­lows were re­cently pre­sented with flags and plaques at a special cer­e­mony in Croke Park. The Healthy Clubs project was es­tab­lished to help turn clubs into hubs for health in their com­mu­ni­ties. Some 58 GAA clubs na­tion­wide, in­clud­ing 20 in Le­in­ster, have now been recog­nised as the first of­fi­cial Healthy Clubs.

St John’s Vol­un­teers and Castletown Liam Mel­lows say that their health and well-be­ing ini­tia­tives have had a tremen­dous im­pact on their clubs and the wider com­mu­nity.

The grounds of both clubs are now com­pletely smoke free zones. In fact, St John’s Vol­un­teers was the first club in Ire­land to in­tro­duce this pol­icy. Al­most half of the Healthy Clubs have fol­lowed suit. No smok­ing sig­nage was pro­vided by Croke Park through a part­ner­ship with Ir­ish Life, and posters de­signed by lo­cal national school chil­dren have also helped drive home the mes­sage.

Healthy Club vol­un­teers Jim and Eoin McCarthy from St John’s Vol­un­teers and Anita and Sean O’Leary from Castletown Liam Mel­lows re­cently trav­elled to Croke Park for the All Ire­land hurl­ing semi-fi­nals when the sta­dium be­came smoke-free for the first time. They also helped carry out a sur­vey of match-go­ers to see if they be­lieved Croke Park should be­come smoke-free per­ma­nently. Some 83 per cent of re­spon­dents said yes.

The flags tell mem­bers that their club val­ues health and well-be­ing as much as leagues and cham­pi­onships. Ar­eas fo­cused on in­clude: healthy eat­ing; phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity for non-play­ing mem­bers; emo­tional well-be­ing, gam­bling, drug, and al­co­hol ed­u­ca­tion, and more.

Castletown in­tro­duced a range of healthy eat­ing ini­tia­tives, and now gives fruit at half-time to un­der-age teams - some­thing they said took ‘min­i­mal ef­fort’ but ‘had a huge im­pact.’

St John’s Vol­un­teers took part in a nu­tri­tional per­for­mance ini­tia­tive, tar­get­ing mi­nor play­ers, and in­volv­ing the Pre­sen­ta­tion School in ex­plor­ing nutri­tion and ex­er­cise.

Caro­line Ka­vanagh, Castletown Liam Mel­lows, ac­cepts the award from Seán Ca­vanagh, Healthy Clubs am­bas­sador and for­mer Ty­rone foot­baller, at a cer­e­mony in Croke Park.

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