Minister Feighan Launches Athy Sláintecare Healthy Community
Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan T.D. visited Athy Library on Friday 14th of October to launch Athy as a Sláintecare Healthy Communities area. Minister Feighan was welcomed to the event by the Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare, Cllr Fintan Brett, along with representatives from Dublin South, Kildare & West Wicklow (DSKWW) Community Healthcare and Kildare County Council.
The launch of Athy Sláintecare Healthy Community highlighted the programmes and community initiatives that have been established across the Athy Area and introduced future plans to develop the programme.
Welcoming the Minister to Athy for the launch, Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare, Cllr Fintan Brett said; “On behalf of the families and community in Athy, we are delighted to welcome Minister Feighan to today’s launch and to see the continued support for the wellbeing of the community, and important services to improve and promote healthy lifestyles.”
He continued; “Initiatives such as Slaintecare Healthy Communities is a fantastic opportunity for the community of Athy to continue to develop important health and wellbeing services in the area and promote and improve the overall health and wellbeing of the people in our community.”
Margaret McQuillan, HSE Dublin South Kildare, West Wicklow Head of Health and Wellbeing discussed the variety of evidence-based programmes that are available in the local Athy area as part of the Sláintecare Healthy Communities programme. These include: Stop Smoking Service, We Can Quit, Parenting Programmes, Healthy Food Made Easy, Social Prescribing and Making Every Contact Count. Margaret emphasised that: ‘’Each of these evidence based programmes have been designed to empower and support people to help make healthier lifestyle choices to improve their overall health and wellbeing. These services are free, readily available and accessible to all now’’.
Service users who engaged in some of the programmes, were central to the launch event and Marelle, Michelle and Dave spoke of their experience in being involved in these programmes and the impact that this experience had in their lives and the lives of their families in a powerful video.
Minister Feighan took time at the launch to engage with Slaintecare Healthy Communities staff, community partners, and others in attendance. Speaking at the launch the Minister said; “The word that comes to mind when I think of this programme is CHANGE, and when I look around here today not only do I see change but willingness to do so. In order to embed Sláintecare Healthy Communities in Athy we must all work together to get the job done.”
“These services can have life changing effects on the participant’s life and ultimately their families’ lives. A once off total fund of €250,000 has also been made available. The focus of this fund, the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Community Enhancement Fund, is to support projects throughout Athy that will positively impact on the health and wellbeing of those who live the area.”
Marian Higgins, Director of Service, Kildare County Council highlighted the importance of collaboration in delivering on this programme as well as the funding available and its value in the area of Athy; “The designation of Athy as a Slaintecare Healthy Community is the result of strong collaboration between the Local Authority, the HSE, the Department of Health, County Kildare Leader Partnership and Athy Family resource centre. In just a few short months we have witnessed the programme in action in Athy and its impact on the health and wellbeing of the community here. Collaboration works.”
“Funding of this type makes a difference and is required on an ongoing basis. We also welcome in the next phase of Slaintecare Funding a 2nd or even 3rd Slaintecare Healthy Communities site within the county to further support health and wellbeing at county level.”
The Athy Sláintecare Healthy Communities programme has generated strong collaboration between the HSE, Kildare County Council, County Kildare Leader Partnership and Athy Family resource centre. All parties are working towards a common goal of improving health and wellbeing for the population of Athy. The event organisers wish to thank all community partners and members of the public who attended the evening event, along with the staff of Athy Library who were on hand to support the event.