When An Caisleán Glas formally engaged in phase 2 of the Healthy Club process in 2014, the club acknowledged the importance of health and well-being to the wider community. Our aim as a Healthy Club was and continues to be; “An Caisleán Glas seeks to ensure that the environment, culture, and ethos within which it runs its affairs is conducive to the continued good Health of all its members. It is the aim of the Club to use the skills and expertise of both its members and professional within and external to the community to best promote positive Health and Well-being.”
Engagement with Tyrone GAA, Ulster GAA and National GAA Healthy Clubs team has been critical and highly beneficial to An Caisleán Glas being able to develop its structures and programmes. We have embedded health and wellbeing as a key part of the club monthly meetings and have created a yearly planner that is regularly updated. We have a dedicated officer with a subcommittee, this along with the development of policies (Club Maith Framework, critical incident etc) means we have the structures in place to support delivery.
Listening to our community has underpinned the club health and wellbeing programme over the last 10 years. We have carried out multiple community engagement processes, the most recent has been part of the development of our community plan which seen over 250 local people have their voices heard in what they wanted to see in place locally for their health and wellbeing.
As a club we aim to support all members within the local community this includes the more recent cost of living crisis. We successfully ran a ‘Swap Shop’ to reduce wastage of sporting clothing and equipment and enable those in financial distress to access clothing otherwise outside their budget. This was aimed at children and adults.
Following support from Ulster GAA, inline with the GAA Code of Conduct and through discussion with parents the club has adopted a ‘Positive Side-lines’ approach at all underage games. Signage has been placed around the grounds and on social media to promote a positive emotional wellbeing during all games.
Keeping it simple – the provision of tailored programmes has always been a successful element of our health and well being programme. We have had worked with many organisations who are funded to deliver programmes and initiatives to communities like ours, these have included mental and emotional wellbeing, substance use information, healthy cooking, and low impact physical wellbeing activities.
We also developed a health and wellbeing noticeboard and a player wellbeing noticeboard located next to the changing rooms to ensure visibility not only to our club members but to those visiting. This is regularly updated.
Securing investment for the development of ‘Greencastle Healthy Highway’ has been a real asset and was especially beneficial during COVID. We hope to run walking groups in the Summer facilitated by a trained walk leader.
Inclusion is key!
We have in the last couple of years engaged past players and ‘new players’ in recreational GAA. We are now proudly fielding teams for ‘Mothers and Others’ ‘Dads and Lads’ as well as ‘Recreational Handball’ for men and woman during winter, proof that its never to late to give it a go!
Our 2023 mission is to promote inclusivity and diversity across our club and community. We have formed our All-Stars football group in April 2023- Castle All Stars.
We received support from Ulster GAA who kindly offered inclusion training to ensure our coaches are equipped to support all children.
Sessions are child-led promoting inclusion, fun and basic football skills fortnightly. It is attended regularly, with children travelling from local clubs/ communities and registering as members of our club. Feedback has been great. We will be attending Croke Park in August for the Inclusion Day!
Promoting Public Health Initiatives:
We have worked with WHSCT and PHA to provide free ‘Farm Families’ health checks for our community. This was targeted at older residents, those living in isolated areas, and those not known for visiting their GP. We have also facilitated key health services including Blood Donor Clinics and vaccine mobile clinic.
As a rural club we had a key role in supporting our local community during Covid-19, this included Collecting medication, friendly phone calls, grocery delivery, meals on wheels etc.
Sourcing support to allow delivery.
Securing the services or resources from local providers or funders has been a necessity. This has included funding towards the purchase of spin bikes, support to allow first aid and defib training.
Hosting Fitness classes Spinning, Circuits, Yoga and Mindfulness, couch to 5k programmes etc have always been successful in engaging people who would not necessarily be involved in the club.
More recently we secured funding to offer kids fun with fitness classes that are not GAA specific to get kids involved with the club as part of our community. Parents/ Carers were offered a hot beverage to promote social wellbeing through conversations while their children interacted.
Caring for our community
An Caisleán Glas continue to work hard cater for the ever-growing needs of our local community, but we can’t do this alone. All the above initiatives have been achieved by working in partnership with the local community, providers, funding bodies as well as the support and guidance of our county health and wellbeing committee, Ulster GAA and the National Healthy Clubs Programme.
We look forward to continuing to develop and see what the future brings.
Sláinte is táinte!By Rory Cox Thu 15th Jun