Minister of State for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan T.D. visited Fettercairn Community Centre on Thursday 6th October to launch Tallaght as a Sláintecare Healthy Communities area. Minister Feighan was welcomed to the event by the Mayor of South Dublin Emma Murphy, Dublin South, Kildare & West Wicklow (DSKWW) Community Healthcare Head of Health and Wellbeing Margaret McQuillan and Colm Ward, Director of Services Housing, Social and Community Development of South Dublin County Council. Also on hand for the event were Francis Noel Duffy TD, Sean Crowe TD, John Lahart TD, Cllr Lyn Hagen-Meade, Cllr Charlie O’Connor, Cllr Alan Edge and Cllr Mick Duff.
The programme began with Minister Feighan meeting Mary O’Kelly, HSE Interim Chief Officer for Dublin South Kildare & West Wicklow Community Healthcare and Colm Ward, Director of Services Housing, Social and Community Development of South Dublin County Council. There was also an opportunity for the minister to meet and get photographs with the speakers, organisers and community partners who are involved in the programme delivery in the Tallaght Sláintecare Healthy Community area.
The speaker portion of the event took place thereafter in Fettercairn Community Centre. Mayor of South Dublin, Emma Murphy began by welcoming the Minister to the area stating “..it gives me great pleasure to welcome the [Sláintecare Healthy Communities] programme to Tallaght and I am sure it will be well received by the people living and working in Tallaght.” Margaret McQuillan HSE Dublin South Kildare, West Wicklow Head of Health and Wellbeing spoke next, discussing the variety of different programmes that are available in the local Tallaght area as part of the Sláintecare Healthy Communities programme including; Stop Smoking Service, We Can Quit, Parenting Programmes, Healthy Food Made Easy, Social Prescribing and MECC. She discussed 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’’. Following Margaret’s speech, a powerful video was played of service users who had engaged in some of the programmes. Ray, Cathy and Pádraig spoke of their experience in being involved in these programmes and the impact that this experience had in their lives.
Minister Feighan spoke next; he 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.”
Colm Ward from South Dublin County Council was the last to speak, touching on the Sláintecare Community Enhancement projects in Tallaght and the potential of the Healthy Communities programme to make a real difference in the Sláintecare areas of Tallaght in relation to the determinants of health going forward. He concluded the speaking portion of the speeches by acknowledging the close collaboration between all partners to bring this to reality: “The Sláintecare approach acknowledges the effectiveness of collaborative working and it is rewarding to see this programme launched here in Tallaght, where groups and agencies have a long history of partnership, working to deliver on community development programmes”
Following the speaker portion of the event, Minister Feighan had the opportunity to engage directly with Health and Wellbeing staff, community partners, and other persons in attendance. Minister Feighan spoke with Áine Buggy HSE Sláintecare Healthy Communities co-ordinator, Gráinne Meehan Sláintecare Healthy Communities Local Development Officer and Alan McDonnell HSE Healthy Promotion and Improvement Officer who were integral in supporting the roll out of these programmes in Tallaght. Before departing Minister Feighan was gifted local honey from the Tallaght area.
Tallaght is now officially launched as a designated Sláintecare Healthy Community location. The visit served as an opportunity to showcase all the services and supports available to promote health and wellbeing for the people of the area. The Tallaght Sláintecare Healthy Communities programme has generated strong collaboration between the HSE, South Dublin County Council, South Dublin Partnership and Barnardos. The event organisers wished to thank all community partners and members of the public who attended, along with the staff of the Fettercairn Community Centre who were on hand to support the event.
Pic: Ben Ryan