The Ladies Gaelic Football Association is pleased to announce details of the LGFA TALK Project, which is available to clubs in Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone, initially on a pilot basis.

The LGFA TALK Project is a six-week club-based initiative aimed at increasing the awareness of positive mental health in young members aged 13-18 years, and removing the stigma associated with the subject area. The project will only be rolled out for clubs in the six counties in Northern Ireland.

The aims of the project are as follows:

  • To transform the club into a hub for positive youth mental health in the community
  • To remove the stigma attached to discussing mental health amongst young members and their peers, mentors and parents
  • To increase awareness of the impact of positive mental health on young members
  • To provide tools for the project team to successfully implement the project in their club

Clubs will be awarded with the status of a ‘Positive Talk Club’ once they have attended all education days, completed the six-week project and can showcase the activities and events they have undertaken during that time.

The benefits of being involved in the programme are as follows:

  • Exclusive access to LGFA TALK Project Resources
  • Expert education provided to project team through the Northern Ireland Youth Forum
  • Increased awareness of positive Youth Mental Health in your club
  • Opportunity to share learnings and experiences with like-minded clubs across Northern Ireland
  • Better engagement with youth members in your club
  • Changes in attitudes towards mental health
  • Chance to set a positive example and make an ever-lasting impact on your young members
  • Sense of achievement as a club
  • Recognition as a leader in in this area by LGFA

In 2020, the project will be piloted with six clubs, one from each county, and these have been identified by the LGFA Development Team, with County Executives.

It is anticipated that this programme will be rolled out to a great number of clubs in 2021, should the pilot prove successful.

Commenting on the announcement, Ladies Gaelic Football Association President, Marie Hickey, reflected: “We are very pleased to be involved in the pilot of the LGFA TALK programme, and working closely alongside NI Youth Forum, who play such a vital role in positive mental health.

“We are very much looking forward to seeing how this pilot scheme is received in the six selected clubs and surrounding areas, before potentially rolling out the scheme on a wider basis. This programme has the ability to make a difference in the lives of so many young people. The mental health and wellbeing of our members is of utmost importance to us, and particularly at a time when our young members increased challenges in their lives.”

Speaking on behalf of Ulster LGFA, President Eileen Jones commented: “I am very pleased that Ulster LGFA is associated with the LGFA TALK project.

“Mental health is a key priority for our Association and helping our young people is paramount to our aims and objectives.

“We are looking forward to working together with the LGFA and NI Youth Forum first of all on a pilot basis, and then in rolling out the project on a wider basis in 2021, should the pilot prove successful.

“Positive mental health is so important to our young people as they grapple with multiple issues in their lives. I would encourage the pilot clubs to engage wholeheartedly with the project, and I look forward to hearing overwhelmingly positive feedback from them.”

Chris Quinn, Director NI Youth Forum, added: “The NI youth forum is delighted to be working in partnership with the LGFA on this important issue.

“Every time we have surveyed young people over the past decade, mental health had been highlighted as the priority issue. We are in the midst of a youth mental health crisis in Ireland. Policy-makers and statutory services need to act immediately.

“The North has the highest rates of youth suicide and self-harm on these islands, yet resources allocated do not meet this need.

“The LGFA should be commended for their approach – they have been proactive and we are enthused by the partnership that we have established. We are looking forward to working together to make a positive impact on young people, their clubs and their communities.”