Blarney GAA Healthy Club have been recognised yet again for their incredible work as one of the finalists in the Inaugural Active Community Awards. This is hot on the heels of receiving a prestigious Lord Mayor’s Community and Voluntary Award 2021 when they were recognised as one of city’s Covid Heroes who stepped up to help those most in need during what has been a difficult year for all. PRO of the club, Valerie Kirby, along with Martina McCarthy, Jim McAvoy and Lisa Hedderman, had seen how other healthy clubs had made a difference in other communities and in a mission to get the GAA off the pitch, out the gate and into the heart of the community, they started the Healthy Club in January 2020. The club started its Wednesday night walks in February, attracting over 150 people of all ages and abilities on its first night and continued to attract a crowd even in bad weather until Covid-19 hit. The club then became involved in the Community Response Forum and volunteers cleaned gutters, collected prescriptions, did peoples’ shopping, and delivered Meals on Wheels. A book exchange was set up in the local Centra and they also hosted Wednesday night chats series in March with talks from dietician Billy Murphy, Eoin Cadogan on health and fitness, and Dr Sharon Lambert on wellness. Over the Christmas period, the encouraged children in primary schools in the area to write to older people in the community to ‘bridge the gap between the generations’. The club’s Blarney 500 fundraiser, which saw people clock up 500 miles in 24 hours raised €17,000 for local charities in 2020 and, as we went to print, had raised €7,500 this year whilst also bringing the community together. Speaking to The Echo Valerie said, “It is really lovely and it will also show other clubs that this is what you can do, it costs you nothing and it’s pure positivity and other communities could do it as well,” she said.