Outline the vision and mission of the Organisation
Community Games has been around for 51 years and for 51 years it has been focussed on including children from all over Ireland in over 50 different sports and cultural activities. Not every child likes to kick a ball, and not every child enjoys being on stage, so Community Games offers a range of different activities to suit every child and every child’s ability. From Skittles to Art, from Gaelic Football to Swimming, from Choir to Cross Country – the possibilities are endless.Over the years, millions of children have taken part and over 1,000,000 medals have been given out. At a local level Community Games has 571 standalone areas feeding into 28 Counties.While allowing children all over Ireland to take part and feel included through friendly competition we are helping in a subtle way to combat the new threats to healthy lifestyles: namely ubiquitous technology/social media and childhood obesity.According to a survey carried out in conjunction with our sponsors, the majority of Irish adults believe that children are less active than 50 years ago. This research also uncovered that some 62pc believe that children’s diets are less healthy now.Community Games is committed to bucking the upward trend of childhood obesity. We have an audience of 160,000 children annually and over 20,000 volunteers and we are determined to get this message across.
How has the Organisation developed and tackled issues?
We have introduced several new initiatives at our National Festivals to help children and parents alike tackle childhood obesity through providing activity and facilitating healthy choices:We provided a free healthy snacks children – water, fruit, pop-corn and a healthy snack bar.We did not allow sugary treats to be sold at the FestivalWe provided free sun-cream to children at the Festivals (if requested) and co-ordinated tannoy messages to remind parents to reapply sun cream when necessaryWe had several stations with free water for allWe produced “Healthy Message” signs throughout the campus – over 50 of them with varying messagesAs part of our strategic focus, our aim is to reach children at a young age, at a grassroots level, and our initiative “Steps to Health is an opportunity for Community Games 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 topics within the Areas:Physical Activity
Mental Health and Well-being
Sun SafetyAnd also working towards achieving the following set of processes:Inclusion & Equality
Child Protection and Welfare
Health & Safety
Good Practice for Health Promotion
Providing Health Information
Health Promotion StrategyThe ‘Steps to Health’ quality standard is available to all Areas who achieve the standards detailed on our online evaluation form. Many Community Games volunteers and participants are already working on health promotion initiatives and ‘Steps to Health’ has been developed to recognise and reward this work. It can measure the impact that Community Games has on children’s health and the ongoing battle on obesity that Ireland is facing.
What has the overall impact of the work been?
As a result of taking part in Steps to Health, Ballymahon-Forgney Community Games won the top spot in the National Overall Community Games Area Awards in 2015 and 2016. This was a major victory for a much smaller and lesser-known area than many of those involved. In short, the win blindsided the usual suspects and put Ballymahon- Forgney Community Games firmly on the map. “We are very proud of what has happened,” says Shirley Moloney, chairperson of the Ballymahon-Forgney Community Games Committee. “Ballymahon is not a big town nor is Forgney parish and we are an amalgamation of the two, so we have about 200 children taking part in the various Community Games events. We have a very small committee of about six people who did all of the work on it and many more volunteers coming in coaching.The Steps to Health initiative rewards areas around the country for promoting health initiatives and well-being within their communities. The award is an opportunity for Community Games Areas to highlight the valuable contribution made by volunteers and participants to improving the health and wellbeing of all members in their community. The Ballymahon-Forgney Community Games Area scored highly in the small project section of the Steps to Health award with young Community Games participants carrying out a survey of food availability at their events. The findings from this survey led to an awareness of better choices and, eventually, policy changes at their events.In 2018, 59 Areas have made the cut and qualified for Steps to Health. That’s 59 Areas who are making a significant impact in the lives of their volunteers and participants through the active promotion of Physical Activity, Mental Health and Well-being, Substance Misuse, Nutrition and Sun Safety.
What makes this Organisation unique?
Over the last 51 years Community Games has become an intrinsic part of the fabric of Irish society. Many people associate Community Games with their childhood – and similar to memories of “tip the can” and “red rover” it is a part of their childhood that is forever nostalgic and positive.We are a unique and robust organisation that started small - in 1968 just 3,000 children from Dublin took part in the preliminary rounds, leading to the finals in Santry. Now 51 years later there are 160,000 taking part annually with apx 8,000 children participating at the National Festival each year.The dedication and commitment of the 20,000 volunteers who help out at Community Games annually is a wonderful manifestation of community spirit and of the willingness of people to become involved in community projects.Everyone has a memory of Community Games – either, they took part or they know someone who took part. Many people who have gone on to be in the public eye credit taking part in the Community Games with who or where they are today:A 6 year old Paul O'Connell headed off to Mosney on the train in 1986 and came home with a silver medal for swimming two widths. A first of 6 medals. He said that at the time he felt like he was in Disneyland! “I remember my time participating in Community Games with great affection. The community spirit and camaraderie of the Games is truly unique. It’s not only about winning - the focus for me was on taking part and enjoying sports which led to a healthy lifestyle. Competing from a young age in swimming, I learnt the importance of preparation, determination and dedication.
How can the public support this work?
Community Games relies on its thousands of volunteers to support its thousands of events and children. The public can support our work in many different ways: by marking a pitch, washing the soccer gear, gluing together project pieces, playing a musical instrument, paring pencils…pretty much anything! You can get involved by going to www.communitygames.ie and finding out if there is an Area near you and if not, if you can set up one!Our aim is to provide children all over Ireland with opportunities to take part in sport and cultural events - if you have a child interested in table quiz, futsal, singing, handwriting, discus or swimming - this possibilities are endless- go to our website and find out how to get them involved!
How is the Organisation transparent and accountable?
Community Games is headed by an effective Board of 17 with individual areas of responsibilities. We are a company that is limited by guarantee and a registered charity CHY7586. The Board is collectively responsible and accountable for the efficiency of the organisation in achieving its purpose, mission, vision and values. Our accounts are audited independently annually.