Today’s launch includes the allocation of funding to support a number of initiatives through the Healthy Ireland Fund that will be rolled out over the coming months. Information about local resources and initiatives will also be available from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council here. This launch builds on the “In This Together” campaign which happened earlier in the year. The “Keep Well” campaign is focussed on five main themes:
• Keeping Active - keeping active and being outdoors, even during the winter, is important to help physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Sport Ireland is leading a series of initiatives that will support people to stay active in their own local areas throughout the winter. In addition, sporting organisations and clubs are invited to develop ways to support local communities.
• Staying Connected - staying connected with people, addressing isolation, supporting volunteerism and initiatives that support person-to-person connection is important to our wellbeing.
Building on the Community Call response earlier in the year, Local Authorities are being supported to provide a local community helpline and befriending service. Working with partner organisations, including An Garda Síochána, NGOs and Volunteer Ireland, there will be a particular emphasis on identifying and supporting those most at risk of isolation.
• Switching Off and Being Creative - switching off and being creative or learning something new, getting back to nature and finding ways to relax can help our general wellbeing.
The Local Authorities and libraries, with advice from the Creative Ireland Programme, and working with partners at national and local level, will provide a range of initiatives to support individual and community creativity in the arts, crafting, culture and heritage.
• Eating Well - by nourishing our bodies and minds, we can develop a better connection between the food we eat and how we feel and positively impact our physical and mental wellbeing.
Bord Bia will provide information and resources to support healthy eating this winter. Safefood will implement the next phase of their “START” campaign, focussing on making the most of family time and adding healthy habits. In addition, the network of libraries around the country will facilitate a major initiative with Grow It Yourself in early 2021, to support more people to grow their own food – in whatever small way they can – helping to forge greater connections between growing food and eating well and develop community networks.
• Minding Your Mood – equipping people with information on where to go if they need support. This will also be linked with the local community helpline to ensure that people can access the support they need.
The HSE will launch a series of “Minding Your Wellbeing” resources in the coming days. In addition, the Children and Young Peoples’ Services Committees (CYPSC) around the country are being supported to provide enhanced services to children, young people and families over the coming months.
Speaking at the launch and on behalf of the Local Authority sector, Philomena Poole, Chief Executive of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said:
Local authorities have planned a range of programmes and initiatives to help everyone in the community to keep well and active in these trying times. Whether through creativity, arts, sports programmes, reading, heritage, or outdoor amenities, your council aims to have something to interest everyone. We will also be working very closely with our local communities and partner agencies to deepen and expand the Community Call helpline service, check in with people, and make sure that anybody who needs help or support during Covid-19 can easily access it. Local authorities are delighted to be at the forefront of the ‘Keep Well’ campaign and look forward to using our local reach to make sure everyone in every county can do just that.