3 time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan was once a very keen member of Slaney Valley Community Games - taking part in Art, Handwriting, Running and Basketball.
We were very fortunate to come across a clip of her from 2004 (long before she was famous) talking about Community Games!
Former Ireland, British & Irish Lions and Munster captain Paul O’Connell and Olympic Bronze Medalist Rob Heffernan were joined by children from Limerick Community Games in University of Limerick today to launch this year’s Aldi Community Games festivals and to celebrate the new three year deal which sees The University of Limerick become the new home for the Aldi Community Games Festivals 2018 to 2020.
This year marks the second of a three-year sponsorship by Aldi Ireland to invest in and support the event for future generations. Aldi Community Games aims to encourage and introduce young people to a love of sport and culture, focusing on participation rather than winning.
More than 160,000 children across 575 communities are expected to take part in over 200 scheduled regional events supported by 20,000 volunteers. The National Festivals will take place in the University of Limerick in May (25th – 27th) and August (17th – 19th), and will bring together the regional champions in friendly competition across a wide range of sporting and cultural activities, individual and team sports.
Speaking at the launch today, Aldi Play Rugby Ambassador and former Community Games competitor Paul O’Connell commented, “Swimming was my favourite sport growing up and I got my first taste of competition at Community Games. I remember loving the feeling of representing Limerick and it always motivated me to do well. Taking part in Community Games helped me immensely in terms of my confidence and I learnt the importance of preparation, determination and dedication - values I later applied on the rugby pitch. I’m now into the second year working with Aldi as an ambassador for Aldi Play Rugby. Between working on this and seeing what they have done with Aldi Community Games, it is clear to me the great commitment Aldi has to developing the community support initiatives that they are involved in.”
Olympic Bronze Medalist, and former Community Games competitor Rob Heffernan said, “Aldi Community Games is all about participation. Children come from all over Ireland, and being around their peers and having fun in a safe and sporting environment is better than any medal they could win. The event sends a message to children from an early age that they can achieve their dreams no matter how big or small through local and national sporting and cultural events. I have the fondest memories of my time taking part.”
Over the past 51 years more than 5 million children have participated in Community Games, including many of Ireland’s celebrities, sporting heroes and world-famous actors. Some of the names in the history books include Paul O’Connell, Rob Heffernan, Saoirse Ronan, Niall Horan, Olive Loughnane, Niall Breslin known as Bressie, Niall Quinn, Colin Farrell and Sonia O’Sullivan.
Dr Cate Hartigan, Assistant National Director, HSE, Health Promotion & Improvement commented “I am delighted to see the next chapter in the Community Games story being opened, with this announcement. The HSE has been a long term supporter and core funder of the Community Games, as we collectively strive to promote and encourage children and their parents to adopt healthier lifestyles across different communities in Ireland. My hope is that this move will attract a lot of new participants to the games, in addition to keeping the existing ones. I am equally pleased for the University of Limerick, as a Healthy Campus, the campus shares with us the vision and values of Healthy Ireland, as we work to promote healthy living in Ireland.”
Speaking at the launch, Finbar McCarthy, Group Buying Director, Aldi Ireland, said,
“At Aldi our competitive nature ensures that we will never be beaten on price. We have also made an equally strong commitment to promoting active, healthy lifestyles for Ireland’s next generation, and teaming up with Community Games, and indeed the IRFU, is built on that vision.”
“The first year of our partnership with Community Games was a huge success and I have no doubt 2018 will exceed our expectations. I would like to wish all the children and volunteers taking part in the hundreds of events up and down the country over the next few months the very best and hopefully they will make it to the University of Limerick for the National Festivals next May and August.”
Community Games CEO John Byrne added, “We are looking forward to a new era for Community Games as we embark on a three-year partnership with University of Limerick to host our National Festivals. With the support of our title sponsor Aldi and our other corporate partners in the promotion of healthy lifestyles we are confident that a bright future lies ahead as we begin our sixth decade as Ireland’s leading sporting and cultural organisation.
James Brooks, Managing Director of Kia Motors Ireland, “We are delighted to be associated with Community Games, Kia is primarily a family brand and we see a great fit between the organisation and our customer base. We are looking forward to promoting the Community Games in the lead up to the national finals in May and August at its new home of the University of Limerick.”
Click here to download the full list of Directors as nominated by Counties
Click here to download the full list of NEAC Directors as nominated by Counties
PRESIDENT: Gerard Davenport
DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Tony Lee
GENERAL VICE-PRESIDENT: Joe Fox | Eileen Doherty
SECRETARY: Jude Feehan
TREASURER: Janice Cooper
PR & MARKETING: Bernie Brennan
ACTIVITIES: Tanya Kelly
YOUTH: Lisamarie McCooey
SECURITY: Clifford Kelly
Oh what a night!
Johnstown Estate was buzzing on Saturday 25th November as all the very worthy nominees of the Aldi Community Games National Area, Volunteer and Media Awards came together to celebrate their achievements.
MC Tony O'Donoghue was the perfect host of the event and we were proud to have Meath County Council Cathoirleach Gerry O'Connor, Aldi Marketing Manager Rita Kirwan, the HSE's Ailis Brosnan and Clodagh Armitage, Kia's Gillian Neely, and INM's Arlene Regan as guests on the night.
The overall winners were Doora/Barefield in Co. Clare and there was rapturous celebrations when Gerry Davenport, President, announced that they had won.
The Provincial Winners were:
Connacht: Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon
Leinster: Ballymahon Forgney, Co. Longford
Munster: Doora Barefield, Co. Clare
Ulster: Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan
The Media Award Winners were:
HSE - Photo in Action public facebook contest
Patrick Whelan, Cork
Best Published Photo Winner - Arthur Ellis from Clare Champion
Best Published Article Winner - Michael Brophy from Mayo Community Games
(both sponsored by INM)
Best Website Winner - Clare Community Games - Rob Stephen, Co. Clare
Best Social Media Winner - Meath Community Games - Laura O’Donoghue and Eileen Doherty
(both sponsored by Kia)
2 Runner up PRO’s:
1.First Runner Up Michael Crossan Donegal Community Games
2.Second Runner Up Eileen Brennan. Sligo Community Games
2 Runner up newspapers:
1.First Runner Up Donegal Democrat, Peter Campbell
2.Second Runner Up Sligo Champion, Emma Gallagher
Overall PRO and Newspaper winners:
1.Overall PRO award - Noreen O Dea, Limerick Community Games
2. Overall Newspaper award - Dann O’ Sullivan Limerick Leader
The Aldi Community Games sponsorship was unveiled by Paul O’Connell on 24th January 2017 at the University of Limerick, where he was reunited with John Dempsey, his former swimming coach. Aldi believe in what we do and want to promote healthy active lives for the children of Ireland. It's a match made in heaven!
To announce the new sponsorship, an advertising campaign was created to show the World that Aldi Community Games has something for everyone. The campaign called ‘Get in the Games’ soon became part of the landscape of cities and towns nationwide with billboards popping up all over the country.
Aldi stores became alive with vibrant images reflecting the billboards and also highlighting 6 of the individual children/events. Press ads started appearing in all of the regional newspapers.
Local radio ads broadcast Aldi Community Games to new audiences and focussed on grassroots. Aldi even put us on TV!
Aldi then set about bringing our sponsorship directly to their customers with the Aldi shopping bag competition. Children were asked to create art to appear on the shopping bags. There were 2 lucky winners - Eimear from Galway and Aisling from Tipperary. Thousands of bags were produced and the colourful designs (one on each side) were a great way to promote the cultural aspect of the Games.
Aldi brought a lot of noise, colour and fun to the National Festivals in the shape of music, the Aldi tent, face-painting, selfie-mirrors, fun games and free healthy lunches. They were also busy taking snaps of County children at the festivals.
These pictures ended up in the stores as part of their County Heroes theme.
Digitally, Aldi Ireland have been busy tweeting, retweeting, liking, sharing and posting and have a dedicated section for Community Games on their website
Aldi Ireland have worked tirelessly alongside us all year to activate Aldi Community Games at local, regional and national level. We were delighted to see them scoop the prize for Best use of Outdoor and Print at the Irish Sponsorship Awards on 22nd November 2017 for the Aldi Community Games campaign.
So just how are we going to top all that in 2018? The sky's the limit and the possibilities are endless. #getinthegames
The following people have been nominated for positions on the 2018 Board of Aldi Community Games:
Tony Lee, Gerry McGuinness, Paul Doogue
Joe Fox, Eileen Doherty, Michael Sheahan, Tony Lee
Jude Feehan, Paul Doogue, Joe Fox
Michael Sheehan, Ruairi Heaney, Tony Lee, Antoin Fitzsimons, Tanya Kelly, Gary Wilmott
PR and Marketing Director
Clifford Kelly, Lesley Weldon
Lisamarie McCooey, Fiona Gilmore
Shirley Maloney, Clifford Kelly, Kathleen Cross, Ruairi Heaney, Tony McCarry, Michael Sheahan, Jane Walsh, Seamus Hogan, Fiona Kelly-Shannon, Patricia Keegan, Paul Doogue, Gerry McGuinness, Eileen Doherty, Andy Griffin, Lesley Weldon, Breda Reid, Joe Fox, Joe Oakley, Michelle Power, Anthony Fitzsimons, Pauline Martin O’Rourke, Bernie Brennan, Kieran d’Arcy, Neilus Collins, Tom Sheridan, Anne Keane, Mary Brett Kelly, Gary Wilmott
December 11th 2017 has been announced, by the Minister for Children, as the date for the commencement of the remaining articles of the Children First Act 2015. Under this legislation, all organisations working with children and vulnerable adults will have a responsibility to safeguard the children involved in their organisation. As part of this, all National Governing Bodies and its clubs/Areas will have to produce and display a Safeguarding Statement. This will be developed by the National Children’s Officer and will be emailed to all Area and County Children’s Officers in early 2018. Instructions on how to display the statement will also be provided.
Please note that all your Area Officers and Coaches should attend Safeguarding 1 training, provided through your Local Sports Partnership. Alternatively, if two or more Areas or a County have more than 12 people wishing to attend the training, the National Children’s Officer can deliver this. All Children’s Officers/Designated Liaison Person’s must also attend Safeguarding 2 and 3.
Safeguarding 1 Online Refresher Course (only for those who have attended the face to face Safeguarding 1 course) is available from the Sport Ireland website: http://elearning.sportireland.ie/login/index.php
In 2017 the town of Ballaghderreen in Co. Roscommon welcomed children and adults, mostly from Syria as they seek to obtain refugee status.
In 2017 the town of Ballaghderreen in Co. Roscommon welcomed children and adults, mostly from Syria as they seek to obtain refugee status. The people of Ballaghderreen have been working effortlessly over the past number of months to ensure that the new residents feel included and that they are given every opportunity to integrate into Irish society. With the arrival of the Syrian families to the town, the Committee of Ballaghaderreen Community Games was determined to play their part in helping their newest residents become acquainted with the wide programme of activities that are available.
The Ballaghaderreen Committee organised various Integration events for the Syrian children staying in the Direct Provision centre. These events ranged from "Family Fun/Integration Athletics Day", a "Gymnastics for Beginners" morning, "Art/Paint for beginners" afternoon and Skittles trainings sessions. The Family Fun day included a number of Community Games events as well as a number of novelty/fun events.
These events were organised free of charge and were open to everyone living in the Community. Transport to and from the Direct Provisions Centre was organised and provided without charge by a local bus company. Notice of these events were translated into Arabic by one of the Youth staying at the Direct Provision Centre, who also attended all events to help with translations & running of the events.
Additionally, all the children present took part in the creation of a Special Community Games mural of their hand-prints. The Theme circled around “Ballaghaderreen Community Games - Our Children/ Our Future”.
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!
Over 4,000 children participated over the weekend with many going home with a medal - and if they didn't get a medal we hope they had fun meeting old friends and making new ones ;-)
Results are now fully available for you all to view and download.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL RESULTS
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