Three-year Healthy Galway City Strategy aims to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing

From left: Professor Terrence McDonough, chair of Galway City LCDC; Mayor of Galway City Neil McNeilis; and the Minister of State for Health Promotion Catherine Byrne, pictured at launch of the Healthy Galway City Strategy 2019-2021 in Westside Library. 
Photo: Aengus McMahon.

From left: Professor Terrence McDonough, chair of Galway City LCDC; Mayor of Galway City Neil McNeilis; and the Minister of State for Health Promotion Catherine Byrne, pictured at launch of the Healthy Galway City Strategy 2019-2021 in Westside Library. Photo: Aengus McMahon.

The Healthy Galway City Strategy 2019-2021, launched this week, aims to ensure Galway is a city where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential, where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society, and where responsibility for health and wellbeing is shared and supported.

The strategy was launched by Minister of State with responsibility for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne in Westside Library this week, as part of the Healthy Ireland initiative.

In launching the strategy, Minister Byrne said: “Healthy Ireland wants to empower every person, young and old, to improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life. Working in partnership we can make positive changes in every home and every community. The Healthy Galway City Plan is a fantastic example of commitment at a local level to supporting and encouraging a healthier lifestyle. The most important thing for each of us is to take that first step, no matter how small.”

Healthy Galway City is an initiative of Galway City Local Community Development Committee (LCDC ) and is based on engagement, collaboration, and the creation of long-term innovative partnerships. The strategy is underpinned by an in-depth community consultation process and includes seven key themes – collaboration, mental health and wellbeing, tobacco free Galway city, prevention and reduction of alcohol related harm, sexual health, healthy eating, and physical activity. The themes included in the strategy reflect national priority areas, ensuring national policies and plans are implemented locally, to meet local needs. The success of the strategy will be enhanced and measured by the contribution that all stakeholders make towards its delivery.

“As part of the Healthy Ireland Fund, we are increasing our awareness collectively throughout Galway city to make it easier for you to know where you can make that healthy start in your own community, so you can eat better, exercise more and feel better,” Mayor of Galway Niall McNelis said at the launch.

The Healthy Galway City initiative began in 2006 with involvement in the World Health Organization Healthy Cities Network and more recently the National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network. This national network aims to develop a structure to support local authorities to implement Healthy Ireland, the national framework for action to improve the health and wellbeing of the Irish population, at a local level.

In 2017, the Government introduced a Healthy Ireland fund to support the implementation of Healthy Ireland objectives. This fund, supported by the Department of Health, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and the Department of Rural and Community Development, was fundamental to the development of the strategy. Galway City LCDC was successful in securing funding under the first two rounds of this fund and look forward to continuing this work under an expected third round.

Healthy Galway City is overseen by a steering committee comprising representatives from Galway City Council, Galway City Partnership, HSE Health Promotion and Improvement, Galway City Community Network, and Amach LGBTI+.

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