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Healthy Offaly Award Launched

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Healthy Offaly Award Launched thumbnailMinister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister for Health Promotion, launched the Building Healthy Offaly, part of the National Health Cities and Counties Network, which was held in the Community Centre Kilcormac on Monday last.

THE launch of the Healthy Offaly Award took place in Kilcormac on Monday last in the presence of Junior Minister for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, with a strong positive attitude from all involved.

The National Healthy Cities and Counties Network was officially launched November last and Offaly was one of the first counties in Ireland to become a member.

In turn The Healthy Offaly Award was presented to the Offaly Building Healthy Communities Group which involves Offaly Local Development Company, Offaly County Council, Laois Offaly Education and Training Board, Offaly County Childcare Committee, HSE (Health Promotion and Improvement) and Offaly Sports Partnership.

The Offaly group, who state they are 'committed to work in a co-ordinated, planned and sustained manner to make Offaly a healthier place for all to live in' held their launch on Monday morning in Kilcormac Community Centre.

Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy congratulated those involved saying 'a key theme in Healthy Ireland is focusing on effective ways of empowering people and communities to take responsibility for improving their health. Initiatives like the Building Healthy Offaly project make a valuable contribution to empowering people and building strong communities for health and well being.'

Brendan O'Loughlin, CEO of Offaly Local Development Company explained 'it is important to take a multi-agency approach to address health issues and promote good health, as the influences on health such as employment, education, environment, transport and housing are so varied and complex.'

Padraig Boland, LOETB, stated at the beginning of the launch that the most important aspect of the project was that 'it didn't come as a dictat from Government, it didn't come as an order from a line manager, it came from a desire to help people and the communities of this area, people coming together with the same view, people who want to enhance their life.'

The project aims to maximise community access to services, for instance transport, childcare and healthy eating, especially for those in hard to reach areas. It is a framework for increasing and maintaining good health, mental health and positive health and well being.

Karen Heavey, HSE Health Promotion said 'it's important for us to come together and work in partnership to see how we can help people.'

The key areas the group will be focusing on include community resilience, positive mental health and suicide awareness, supporting parents and children in communities, community development and learning, with Roisin Lennon, Offaly Local Development stating 'we underestimate the value of learning, it is the foundation for everything else.'

Chairman of Offaly County Council, Councillor Eddie Fitzpatrick added 'all areas have different problems and different projects ongoing, it's important to group together, volunteers are very important, I'm delighted to be here today, I wish everyone here well and for positive outcomes as a result.'

Minister Corcoran Kennedy stated 'change has been slow, people need to take responsibility for their health, this is what Healthy Ireland is all about - empowering and supporting communities and individuals to make healthier lifestyle choices. As a former elected member of the council here in Offaly, I know that local authorities and local organisations are uniquely placed to bridge the gap between national policy and local implementation.'

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