Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD visited Aras Inis Gluaire, Civic Centre in Belmullet to launch the Mayo Sláintecare Healthy Communities Initiative.
Introduced nationally in 2021, Sláintecare Healthy Communities is a cross-Government initiative to deliver increased health and wellbeing services to 19 community areas across Ireland. The Healthy Communities area in North West Mayo includes the communities of Ballycastle, Erris and Achill which has a total population of approximately 14,000.
Minister Feighan was welcomed to the event by the Leas Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Michael Kilcoyne, Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Kevin Kelly, along with the Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche and Head of Services for Health and Wellbeing, Elaine Prendergast, HSE. Also attending the event were Minister of State, Dara Calleary TD, Rose Conway Walsh TD and Cllr Gerry McMonagle, Chairperson of HSE Regional Health Forum West.
The launch of the Mayo Sláintecare Healthy Communities is the successful culmination of close collaboration between the Department of Health, Mayo County Council, HSE Community Healthcare West and local partners Mayo North East, The Family Life Centre, and Foroige. Together they are delivering evidence-based programmes and community initiatives across North West Mayo to support people’s wellbeing within the community and provide better access to a range of services needed to help improve and promote healthier lifestyle behaviours.
At the launch, Minister Feighan stated, “Sláintecare Healthy Communities is a collective programme where we all work together to ensure that our communities in greatest need are supported to live longer, healthier lives. The health services cannot make these changes happen alone.”
“To make real and lasting change we need to work together to create communities where people can thrive. Our local community partners know better than anyone else what challenges this community faces and the strengths with it. They have the relationships and trust of the community and will be a key to the success of this programme as they are already imbedded into your community.”
Breda Crehan-Roche described how the HSE long–term investment of €520,000 annually will provide for the establishment and delivery of a variety of different programmes in the area as part of the Sláintecare Healthy Communities programme. These will include; a Free Stop Smoking Service, We Can Quit Community based smoking cessation programmes, Parenting Programmes, Healthy Food Made Easy courses and Social Prescribing programmes.
In addition, the Chief Executive of Mayo County Council explained that the local authority have provided Sláintecare Healthy Communities Enhancement funding 2022 to the tune of €250,000 which has been spent in Lacken, Blacksod, Bangor Erris/Kiltane and Achill to provide amongst other things fully accessibility walking routes. He also stated that the projects’ collaboration with ‘Creative Ireland’ has leveraged €25,000 to support the Social Prescribing programme, specifically the cultural activities in the area.
Source: Mayo County Council