Emmets and Annacurra are ‘Healthy Clubs’
ANNACURRA GAA Club and Bray Emmets are among 58 clubs recognised as the first ‘Healthy Clubs’ in Ireland.
Members of both clubs attended a special ceremony which took place last Tuesday in Croke Par,
Twenty Leinster clubs, including the two Wicklow clubs, can now proudly fly a flag above their grounds endorsed by both Healthy Ireland and the Public Health Agency.
The innovative Healthy Club model was developed in partnership with Healthy Ireland, the HSE’s health promotion division, the National Office for Suicide Prevention, and is supported by Irish Life through a CSR investment.
In January of last year close to 100 clubs applied to participate in Phase 2 of the project, with just 16 participating in Phase 1 between 2013 and 2015. Many cited the dearth of services in their communities that are tackling issues such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, mental health and suicide.
Bray Emmets have embarked on various health and wellbeing initiatives, such as their ‘Get fit with BE FIT’ initiative’ and the club’s response to Operation Transformation. Organised by PJ Cunningham, ‘Be FIT’ takes place two evenings each week with the option of a walk or run in the surrounding Wicklow Mountains on Sunday mornings. The programme runs over three, ten week terms and regularly finishes with a sponsored 5 km run or walk around the club’s Slí na Slainte or local Shangannagh Park. BE FIT caters for all levels of fitness and provides a variety of classes ranging from Fartlek and Boxercise to Pilates and Yoga.
As part of the Healthy Club Project Annacurra GAA Club organised a six week circuit training programme for people who are no longer playing team sports in the club. The club promoted it to members of the public who are over the age of 40, with the aim of increasing physical activity levels amongst this group.
In addition, the club wanted to provide an alternative social outlet through exercise for this audience, to boost integration amongst members of the community who may have no connection with the club or previous links through their playing career.
The GAA hope to extend the project to 150 clubs in Phase 3, with expressions of interest to open in early 2018, before opening the project to all interested clubs in 2020.
Wicklow representatives, Paul Sweeney, Bray Emmets GAA, left, and Declan Byrne, Annacurra GAA, with their Official Healthy Club Awards alongside Seán Cavanagh.