By Liam De Brún
Galway Sports Partnership (GSP) is getting feet and minds moving with more than 600 people taking part in their latest campaign.
Their March For March campaign wraps up next week after a month that shook the winter cobwebs off the Galway public.
GSP Coordinator Louise Burke says the campaign was designed for people to get out of the house and moving throughout Galway.
“People decided what they wanted to do. We gave everyone the opportunity to set their own goals and decide if they wanted to do 5,000 or 15,000 steps,” she says.
The campaign has sparked friendly competition throughout Galway.
“They can submit their steps as part of their local team, usually their town or parish. These teams are competing against each other. Galway people are naturally very competitive and active,” said Ms Burke.
It’s not just steps GSP wants from the public. Ms Burke reveals the campaign wanted to march people on in different aspects of life.
“We asked everyone to take up a hobby. People have started yoga, mindfulness colouring. The impact of doing 15 mins a day of a new hobby is huge on mental health. People feel part of something,” she says.
March For March not only helps with people’s physical health but also their mental health.
“It’s important to show people that you can be involved in virtual communities. It brings the connection between people that may have gone missing last year back. It allows people to feel part of something,” says Ms Burke.
Ms Burke is delighted with the campaign’s response saying, “People have told us that we’ll never know the impact it’s had on their family. You can never have a greater compliment than that.”
GSP is happy to continue helping the Galway public during Level 5 restrictions.
“We’re in a lucky position that we’re not on the frontline. We can have a positive impact and create opportunities for people. Our jobs are incredibly rewarding,” says Ms Burke.
The hard work for GSP doesn’t end after March finishes.
“There’s going to be a programme for over 40s. We’re hoping to do some throwbacks. Karate and line dancing were massive in the 80s. It’s all good fun,” said Ms Burke.
While the March For March campaign is fun, GSP does serious work for the community.
“A lot of our work previously would have been working with people with disabilities, travelling movements, women and girls. We try to help those in areas who need our support,” says Ms Burke.
Ms Burke believes that their work is vital as the health implications regarding the past year remain unknown.
“We don’t even walk to the shops anymore. We don’t know the impact the pandemic is having on our physical health. If we can help in any way, we will,” she says.
Ms Burke maintains that people must praise themselves for any positive changes in their lives.
“We’re not changing lives, we’re changing lifestyles,” she says.
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