Many of you will be familiar with the GAA’s Healthy Club project which aims to transform GAA clubs into health-enhancing hubs for their communities. A major part of the success of this project has been working with partner organisations in specialist areas, dealing with a range of social issues affecting community’s right across Ireland.
One of these partner organisations is the RNLI, an organisation that operates a volunteer-led lifeboat search and rescue service in Ireland and Britain, at sea and on inland waters and who save lives through action and their drowning prevention work. The charity’s ‘Respect the Water’ programme gives life-saving advice and information to people who never thought they would be at risk of drowning, in a way they can relate to and that is easy to understand and pass on to others.
Every year people are losing their lives to drowning and the GAA community has not been left untouched by this.
So what is happening?
The RNLI would like to deliver safety talks to minor and senior teams at GAA clubs in their local communities so they can understand the risks of drowning and how simple action can save lives.
Why are the RNLI specifically targeting male minor and senior teams?
Current drowning figures show a clear gender divide, with men accounting for over two-thirds of those who lose their lives through drowning. The campaign is primarily aimed at men, particularly those aged between 16 and 39 years, who are more likely to take risks. However, the safety advice is relevant for anyone and the RNLI Ambassadors are willing to speak to members of all ages, both male and female.
Will it need much support or time?
Not at all. The RNLI’s team of volunteers are specially trained and are GAA supporters themselves. They attended Croke Park to receive their training and have short presentations (approximately half an hour) that they can deliver locally. All they need is a contact person and a time that suits and they will do the rest.
What can you do to help?
If you are near the coast or an RNLI lifeboat station then you may get a call from one of the RNLI volunteers offering a talk and you will know what to expect. If you would like to get a visit arranged you can contact the RNLI directly at their Irish Head Office and speak to Susan on Tel: 01-8900 460 or email Susan_Carthy@rnli.org.uk
Again, we know there are a lot of asks on clubs and the Healthy Club project deals with many important issues. The RNLI has worked with the GAA to make this programme relevant to young people who lead busy and active lives. These are the people we need to reach with this message and ultimately a short presentation could save a life at your club.
Mise le meas,
Alan Mac Maoldúin
Stiúrthóir Cumarsáide/Director of Communications
Bainisteoir Comhphobal agus Sláinte CLG / GAA Community & Health Manager