The hugely popular ‘Ireland Lights Up’ walking initiative returns in January 2020, in partnership with the GAA, Operation Transformation, and Get Ireland Walking.
GAA clubs across the 32 counties will once more ensure ‘Ireland Lights Up’ by turning on their floodlights and hosting community walking groups during the eight-week broadcast period of the hit RTÉ show (which returns to our screens each Wednesday from January 8th to February 26th).
Over 270 clubs participated in Ireland Lights Up in 2019, with a total of 65,000 walkers getting out during the initiative.
The first date for clubs to host ‘Ireland Lights Up’ 2020 is Thursday, January 9th, but this year clubs are free to host their walking groups any, and as many, nights of the week as they want. The aim is to make exercise more accessible on the dark winter nights and to offer local communities an opportunity to get together and socialise in a healthy way. Walking is proven to benefit both our physical and mental health.
During the eight-week period, RTÉ's Operation Transformation cameras will visit a selection of participating clubs across the series, with all clubs encouraged to capture their stories via video and images for use on the show, GAA.ie and RTÉ's various platforms. Please send your captured stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is important to note that only club that register their participant numbers in a timely manner with the Community & Health department in Croke Park will be considered for a visit by Operation Transformation’s cameras.
Clubs that complete the registration process and adhere to the necessary criteria will be covered by Get Ireland Walking's insurance for all walk leaders and participants. However, irrespective of GAA membership status, leaders and participants are not covered by the GAA Injury Benefit Fund for this initiative.
It is important to note that only clubs that register their participant numbers in a timely manner with the Community & Health department in Croke Park will be considered for a visit by Operation Transformation’s cameras.
To participate, clubs MUST comply with certain criteria, including:
- Register your club and at least two walking leaders free-of-charge with GIW at http://www.getirelandwalking.ie/GAA/ . This extends additional indemnity cover to the club in addition to the GAA’s public liability cover (be sure to click yes on this box on the registration form).
- Ensure your club has a current health and safety statement in place and completes a documented hazard inspection of the proposed walking track/route in the club. All floodlighting must be checked prior to the commencement of each walk
- Ensure your club can provide a safe, floodlit location for the ‘Ireland Lights Up’ walk at least one evening a week between January 9th - February 28th, 2020. This should ideally take place on a purpose-built walking track/surface but if none available at the club a safe track will be suitable. To ensure safety, carry out a risk assessment on this track and deal with any potential risks.
- If the club doesn’t have a purpose built walking track with flood lights, they can coordinate walks which must begin at the clubhouse and end at the clubhouse, a full risk assessment of the route must be carried out by the club’s safety officer to ensure the designated route is well lit and is able to cater for the required numbers. High Vis vests will need to be worn by all those taking part and the route should have adequate footpaths, a good road surface with no loose chippings, be pot hole free and should not take place near any designated road works. A record of the risk assessment must be maintained at the club. Adequate numbers of walk leaders will need to front the walking group and marshal it from behind to ensure all participants are walking in a safe environment. Clear and safe instructions will need to be given on each of the walking nights ahead of the group leaving the club premises. Dogs are not permitted.
- The club can decide (and promote to its members and communities) what time between 7pm-9pm each week the lights will be turned on. (It can be all or some of this period, depending on walk leader availability, floodlight resources etc.)
- A registration of all participating walkers must be taken each night. This is will provided in the support pack once your club signs up. This is once again designed to protect the club from exposure to insurance risk and to allow us tally final numbers to evaluate the success of ‘Ireland Lights Up’.