St Kevin’s GAA gains na­tional award for pro­mot­ing healthy club

Mid Louth Independent - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

A spe­cial cer­e­mony with gov­ern­men­tal rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Croke Park saw 58 GAA clubs recog­nised as the first of­fi­cial ‘Healthy Clubs’ on the is­land of Ire­land.

St Kevin’s from Philip­stown can now proudly fly a flag above their grounds (en­dorsed by both Healthy Ire­land and the Public Health Agency in NI), let­ting their mem­bers and com­mu­ni­ties know that they value health and well­be­ing as much as leagues and cham­pi­onships.

In Jan­uary 2016, al­most 100 clubs ap­plied to par­tic­i­pate in Phase 2 of the project (just 16 par­tic­i­pated in Phase 1 be­tween 2013-2015). Many cited the dearth of ser­vices in their com­mu­ni­ties that are tack­ling is­sues such as obe­sity, seden­tary life­styles, men­tal health and sui­cide. They wanted to be part of the so­lu­tion.

Clubs en­gage with their mem­bers and com­mu­nity be­fore iden­ti­fy­ing health themes upon which to fo­cus on.

St Kevins is the first club in Louth to re­ceive na­tional recog­ni­tion. Their var­i­ous health and well­be­ing ini­tia­tives have had a tremen­dous im­pact on the club and wider com­mu­nity. One of their in­no­va­tive events last year, ‘Cy­cle of the Saints’ en­cour­aged lo­cal peo­ple to get both phys­i­cally and so­cially ac­tive through cy­cling, re­sult­ing in a great sense of com­mu­nity spirit around the lo­cal­ity.

The project in­volved a week­end of var­i­ous cy­cling routes to all clubs in Co. Louth that had a ‘Saint’ in their name. Var­i­ous routes were avail­able to suit all ages and abil­i­ties. Seventy cy­clists took part in the Satur­day Fam­ily Cy­cle route of 30km; and 150 cy­clists took part in the Sun­day cy­cle routes, stretch­ing 70km, 100km or 150km in length. Other al­ter­na­tive phys­i­cal fit­ness ini­tia­tives avail­able at St Kevins in­clude jiv­ing lessons and couch to 5km train­ing. The club is equally com­mit­ted to pro­mot­ing healthy eat­ing and pos­i­tive men­tal fit­ness, fos­ter­ing a safe and sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment for all mem­bers.

Paula John­son, rep­re­sent­ing St Kevin’s GAA, Co Louth, is pre­sented with the Of­fi­cial Healthy Club Award by Seán Ca­vanagh

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