Healthy Club Projects 2020
The Healthy Club project aims to help GAA clubs explore how they support the holistic health of their members and the communities they serve. 

The project aims to help GAA clubs identify what they are already doing well, identify areas where they can or would like to improve and empower them to ensure everyone who engages with their club benefits from the experience in a health-enhancing way, be they players, officers, coaches, parents, supporters, or members of the local community.

The healthy club model, which is based on best national and international practice, also aims to embed a healthy philosophy in a club while integrating health into the day-to-day club activities in a sustainable way. It also aims to place the local GAA club at the heart of the community, making it a beacon for health in the locale.

Shamrock Gaels were delighted to be one of the clubs accepted into Phase 4 of the Healthy Club initiative by the GAA, and so we started our Healthy Club journey in January 2020. We have a small Healthy Club committee, Brenda Crowley, Eileen Benson, Shirley McKenna, Majella Muldowney, Sharon Dineen, Joe Quinn and led by Marina Swann. 

Our  areas of focus as a healthy club is around promoting physical and mental health, to include fitness and healthy eating, social inclusion, community and personal development and substance and alcohol abuse. The intention is to encompass the whole community and not just the club.

2020 was not the ideal year to kick-start any new initiative and with Covid-19 lockdowns we had to cancel our public consultation, which we had scheduled to ask our community if there were any areas we should focus on. We did, however conduct an on-line survey and with the results of this we managed to run a number of worthwhile initiatives throughout the past year.
1. Covid-19 Response Group - set up to deliver groceries, necessities or just a phone-call to vulnerable and elderly people.
2. We got all teams from underage to senior to do short videos of ball kicking and mashed them together to create solidarity and connectiveness within our community - staying together while staying apart.
3. We did a video with some children asking for everyone to adhere to the guidelines so as to protect our elderly and vulnerable.
4. The 5k per day in May, organised by the men's senior team got the whole community out moving every day in May to commemorate John Lyons and in the process raised €30,000 for North West Hospice.
5. In conjunction with Riverstown Pharmacy, we got involved with "Riverstown Lights up" and held a 24 hour relay for Pieta House. This raised awareness of suicide and created a very positive atmosphere at a time when people were struggling with lockdown.
6. Continuation of our very successful G4MO - Gaelic4mothers and others.
7. We set up a Social Rounders club for anyone who wanted to join, aimed at over 35s. This brought back great memories for former rounders players who had represented Riverstown Community Games down through the years.
8. We have created and adopted a substance use policy within our club and our Club Grounds have now gone totally smoke free!
9. We have signed and adopted the CARA charter to be socially inclusive and are currently looking at ways where we can make our club grounds more accessible to people with disabilities.
10. We completed a fitness challenge over 3 weeks in February 2021 for walkers and runners of all ages.
11. We collaborated with Tidy Towns and our local County Council to have club members and the wider community do a rubbish collection within their own 5k area.
If you have any ideas, however big or small, or would like to get involved on the Healthy Club Committee or get involved in a project on a once off basis, please contact any one of us and we would be delighted to chat to you.