President of the GAA (Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchl
This once-off €815,000 funding provided by Healthy Ireland is designed to make community walking tracks located on GAA grounds more accessible to more people.
Minister Naughton said:
I am delighted to welcome the announcement of the successful clubs for this very worthwhile initiative. Healthy Ireland has been a long-standing partner of the Irish Life GAA Healthy Club Project and supporter of the GAA’s efforts to transform clubs into hubs for health in their communities, all of which makes a significant contribution to the Healthy Ireland agenda.
GAA clubs have opened their doors to their local communities in recent years, particularly under the “Ireland Lights Up” initiative. They play an invaluable role in fostering social connections and by expanding access to their facilities they are helping to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone who uses them.
I’d like to commend the clubs for their wonderful contribution to their communities and I want to thank the GAA for the significant work involved in the process.
In partnership with Healthy Ireland, funding of €815,000 was made available through a competitive application process to affiliated GAA, Camogie and LGFA clubs in the 26 counties to upgrade existing walking tracks situated on club grounds.
Almost 340 applications were received and following a comprehensive evaluation process by a selection committee, 54 clubs across 26 counties were successful.
GAA president Larry McCarthy said:
The GAA is at the heart of every community it serves, and this funding from Healthy Ireland enables clubs to expand their impact by improving their walking infrastructure, creating safe and inclusive spaces for people of all ages and mobilities.
By delivering upgrades such as lighting and improved surfaces, our clubs are helping to empower people to stay active all year round. The exceptionally high number of applications illustrates the public demand for these amenities, in particular in rural areas where access to safe spaces for walking can be limited.”
Head of Healthy Ireland Tom James said:
We value our strong partnership with the GAA and wholeheartedly support their commitment to communities in an inclusive manner that goes far beyond sport.
Initiatives such as this have immediate, tangible benefits for people of all ages by providing a safe environment for physical activity, particularly for people who may not be able to access other exercise amenities.
It’s a wonderful example of the Healthy Ireland principles in action, as it’s empowering people and communities to better look after their own health and wellbeing.
- The Healthy Clubs Project was launched as a partnership between Healthy Ireland and the GAA in 2013. The aim of the project is to identify opportunities in clubs to promote health and wellbeing among members and the wider community. The phased approach to the project is underpinned by robust evaluations and today there are 450 clubs actively participating in phase five.
- The process to become a Healthy Club takes 18 months, training is provided for the Healthy Club Officers and an online portal is utilised to document progress. On achieving the objectives of the first phase, clubs gain recognition as a Foundation Level Healthy Club and can then progress onto silver and gold levels. Irish Life came on board as a corporate sponsor for the Project in 2015.
- The project is supported nationally by the Community and Health Division in the GAA, by Provincial and County Health and Wellbeing Committees, and at club level by Healthy Club Officers. A wide range of health and wellbeing interventions are delivered locally by the clubs including Nutrition, Physical Activity and Mental Health. Over 50% of Healthy Clubs have also gone smoke-free in the last three years, supporting the Tobacco Free Ireland agenda.
- In partnership with Healthy Ireland, funding of €815,000 was made available through a competitive application process to affiliated GAA, Camogie and LGFA clubs in the 26 counties to upgrade existing walking tracks situated on club grounds. (The initial grant aid agreement of €800,000 was increased to €815,000 using inflationary adjustment funding)
- The objective of the funding is to assist clubs in upgrading existing facilities to maximise participation in physical activity at community level (access must include community as well as club members). It is also intended to support and increase existing track usage by older people and people with disabilities, to extend usage and availability through the winter months through appropriate lighting installation and to support the sustainability of the amenity from an environmental and risk and maintenance perspective.
- Expressions of interest for funding were opened via an online portal in December 2022 and closed on 31 January 2023. 337 valid applications were received. Following a comprehensive evaluation process by a selection committee, 54 clubs across 26 counties received funding to upgrade their facility.
- Successful clubs will receive funding in amounts of €10,000, €15,000 and €25,000.