Aldi Community Games has been working in partnership with the HSE, Health Promotion & Improvement for the past number of years, to develop the “Steps to Health” which is a community-led health promotion initiative. Volunteers and their areas (clubs) are awarded and recognised for their contribution to promoting health within their communities. They each work towards achieving a set of standards ranging from nutrition and mental health to child protection and youth empowerment. Community Games aim to make 2018 the best year yet for the Steps to Health with a new online portal and revised incentives including monetary rewards and significant points towards the Area Awards.
Minister Catherine Byrne said on the day: “Community development is one of my priorities as Minister for Health Promotion. The Steps to Health initiative, supported by the HSE, plays a really effective part in achieving the aims of Healthy Ireland, by promoting and encouraging community participation in a fun, active and healthy environment within local communities.
I am confident that the new additions to the programme in 2018 such as an online portal, new incentives and a new logo will only enhance the success of this initiative and encourage an even greater take up across the 500 Community Games Areas.
I would also like to commend the work of all the volunteers and Community Games Areas for the valuable roles they play in community health promotion."
The Steps to Health initiative is an opportunity for Aldi Community Games, in association with HSE, Health Promotion & Improvement, to highlight the valuable contribution made by volunteers and participants towards improving the health and well-being of all members of the community. It is based on promoting the following within a Community Games Area:
Many Community Games volunteers are already working on health promotion initiatives and ‘Steps to Health’ has been developed to recognise and reward this work ."
Areas can achieve a Gold, Silver or Bronze standard. The ‘Steps to Health’ can be displayed on all Area promotional materials, letterheads, social media, etc. to highlight the achievement. In addition, it will to contribute significantly towards the points allocation for the National Area Awards, which are held each November. As well as free annual affiliation there are monetary incentives for standards awarded. This initiative aims to recognise the immense contribution of volunteers and reward areas who wholeheartedly embrace the values of Aldi Community Games.
Fergal Fox, General Manager, HSE, Health Promotion and Improvement, Dublin Mid-Leinster added: “The HSE Health Promotion & Improvement unit is delighted to support the Community Games Steps to Health initiative. One of our core priorities is to support the Healthy Ireland framework, which aims to promote and encourage all communities to adopt healthier lifestyles. This includes, what we eat and drink; how we exercise; and of course our mental health. Our hope is to see as many volunteers and areas getting involved in this programme and in turn getting recognition for the wonderful work they are doing introducing children in their areas to the benefits of healthy living.”
Gerry Davenport, President of Aldi Community Games said: “Firstly I would like to thank Minister Catherine Byrne for coming here today and also to Fergal Fox of the HSE. We, as a child-centred and community based organisation, strive to create healthy opportunities for the children of Ireland to participate in a variety of sporting and cultural activities. The Steps to Health is an initiative that recognises the potential and/or real contributions that volunteers and children can make to achieving healthy communities, as set out in Healthy Ireland.
The Steps to Health has been a joint venture between HSE and Aldi Community Games. In partnership, the two organisations have recognised the scope to promoting health and well-being within communities throughout Ireland. As an organisation, we have been striving to promote the health and well-being of all our members. This began back in the early days of 2006/2007 through the provision of healthy eating options provided at the National Festival.
Whilst these initiatives were great to see and to be part of, Aldi Community Games realised that the potential within the organisation lay far greater than within the confines of the National Festival. Since 2012, staff and volunteers from both organisations have been working on developing a health initiative that would benefit the organisation from grass roots up. In 2015 ‘Steps to Health’ was born and it has continued to grow. The ‘Steps to Health’ is an opportunity for Areas to demonstrate the work they do each week in promoting positive healthy lifestyles within their communities. This not only includes promoting aspects of health such as nutrition, physical activity, and mental health but also that of inclusion, youth empowerment, child welfare and peer health. I am delighted to announce the launch of the new Steps to Health Online Portal. The introduction of this portal will simplify the process for recording the achievement of the standards, which up until now, has been quite labour intensive. I am sure that this will incentivise more Areas and volunteers to participate in the Steps to Health over the coming years.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers for their hard work and I am delighted to say with the ‘Steps to Health’ that all aspects of their work can now be recognised.”
The new Steps to Health Portal will be live on January 1st and Areas can start submitting their evidence from then. New incentives include: €200 for Gold, €100 for Silver, €50 for Bronze and free Area affiliation for all Areas who achieve at least a Bronze standard. This is on top of the extra points that will be allocated to you for the Area Awards. Best of luck!
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