Just to keep you all informed the Association has recently made some changes to enable it to respond more effectively to the health and wellbeing needs of members.
The GAA’s first efforts to help in this area came in 2006 through the formation of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) programme in partnership with the HSE. This programme has been widely praised for its work in preventing drug and alcohol misuse, while facilitating a better delivery of education and intervention services to club members. The creation of a drug and alcohol policy for clubs and the addition of the innovative Off the Booze & On the Ball health challenge to our annual calendar have contributed to a more mature culture surrounding alcohol in clubs. This has all been made possible through the tireless work of the ASAP’s network of officers at Club, County, Provincial and National level.
At Congress in Derry in 2013 a Tyrone- sponsored motion recommending the creation of a Health & Wellbeing Sub Committee in each county was passed. To best reflect and support this new structure, a National Health & Wellbeing Committee is being put in place. Health professionals and experts from the four provinces with strong GAA links have been invited to join this committee to help direct the Association’s work in this important area.
An additional change will also be implemented to reflect this broader approach to health promotion in our clubs. This will see the Club ASAP Officer title change to Club Health & Wellbeing Officer. This title better reflects the varied and positive work our clubs already do in promoting health amongst our members. (The ASAP programme will remain one of the GAA’s cornerstone health promoting programmes and the County ASAP Officers will continue to drive this agenda through the County Health & Wellbeing Committees with support from the Club Health and Wellbeing Officers.)
The club officer will provide a direct link with the County Health & Wellbeing Committees and will help promote and signpost members to any initiatives being rolled out at county level. The development of appropriate training for the new Club Health & Wellbeing Officers will be one of the first tasks for the National Health & Wellbeing Committee and will be made available in the first quarter of 2015 through the new County Health & Wellbeing Committees.