On Thursday, the 24th October, the Healthy Laois Unit of Laois County Council, led by Ms Emma O’Connor, Healthy Laois County Co-ordinator, held a Consultation Workshop in the LOETB Centre of Excellence, O’Moore Park, Portlaoise. The workshop brought together a broad cross section of Laois Community Groups and agencies, in addition to Service Users, to help inform the new Healthy Laois 2023- 2025 Strategy.
The Healthy Ireland Programme is based on the premise, that health and wellbeing is affected by all aspects of a person’s life, including education, socio-economic status and physical environment. Healthy Laois is working to ensure an increase in the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life, to reduce health inequalities and to create an environment, where every individual and sector of society, can play their part in achieving a healthier Laois for its citizens.
Speaking at the event, An Cathaoirleach Thomasina Connell, outlined how recent health studies have shown the need for preventative action to begin now, if we are to meaningfully address areas of concern such as physical activity, mental health, healthy activity, sexual health and substance abuse.
Healthy Ireland Laois embraces and recognises national policies and plans, and recognises the need to integrate and to implement them, at local level, and they are embedded into the county’s Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP), which is now also currently under review.
The Vision of Healthy Ireland and in turn Healthy Laois is-
Siobhan Hourigan, Health Promotion Officer for the HSE, spoke about how existing Healthy Laois Programmes, such as the “We’re Breastfeeding Friendly Campaign” and the “Not Around Us”, Tobacco Free Campaign, demonstrated the value of interagency collaboration in creating meaningful initiatives, that can be actioned and serve to inform the new Healthy Laois Strategy for 2023-2025.
A series of round table consultations and feedback sessions ensued which were facilitated by Storm Powell and Jim O’Brien. These produced very good information and provided insight into the issues affecting the citizens of county Laois, with key actions and outcomes identified.
The workshop offered an opportunity for meaningful collaboration with groups and organisations and will ensure the Healthy Laois Plan can achieve the greatest impact possible on the health and wellbeing of all in Laois into the future. If you wish to find out more about Healthy laois initiatives, please contact Emma O’Connor at eoconnor @laoiscoco.ie or please see https://laois.ie/departments/healthy-laois/