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