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Dungannon Thomas Clarkes welcome Samaritans

December 11th, 2019

Dungannon Thomas Clarkes GAC, in association with the Ulster GAA, had the privilege to be the first club in Tyrone to welcome Marie Martin and Margaret Campbell from Samaritans to deliver an Active Listening workshop. Twenty four club coaches, mentors and managers were given the opportunity to improve their skills in active listening. The workshop covered a brief history of the Samaritans work in Ireland particularly around the link with the GAA. Built on a volunteering ethos also, Samaritans provide an excellent fit with the GAA and are the official mental health partner of the GAA. Samaritans Liaison Officers are available in each county and clubs can call upon these volunteers to assist with club activity in the area of mental and emotional wellbeing.

The Active Listening workshop, which is available to clubs on request, is best aimed at coaches, mentors, and officers. It upskills participants in the skills of listening, and how to ask questions which will best support someone who may be going through a difficult time. It gives participants the confidence to have a conversation which is sometimes all that is needed to help a person get clarity in a troublesome situation.

The workshop also promotes the new “The Huddle” concept which is a short pitch-side intervention, facilitated by Samaritans volunteers in the first instance. The idea of “The Huddle” is that teams will take-on to use “The Huddle” in order to offer a listening ear to team-mates, while also promoting a value of care and trust within the team. Important for coaches and mentors is knowing the do’s and don’ts when communicating with players, and the importance of signposting to professional services should the need arise. The workshop covers all aspects of this process, while putting participants at ease in relation to some of the concerns they may have. The Active Listening workshop allows ample time for participants to ask questions of how to deal with scenarios they may have encountered, and to give them the confidence to deal with unfamiliar and uneasy situations.

Dungannon Thomas Clarke’s Healthy Club Officer Peter Toal was extremely impressed with the workshop; saying “Marie and Margaret were fantastic, explaining what Active Listening entails very well, and in a way which resonated with club members. I would encourage every club to take-up the offer of having Samaritans involved in your club”.

For more information on the Active Listening workshops, or “The Huddle” please contact maura.mcmenamin.ulster@gaa.ie