Tir Chonaill Gaels’ Marie Dillon has been appointed London GAA’s new health and well-being officer. She has been the Greenford club’s health officer for the past three years.
Marie takes over from St Brendan’s Dee Malone, who has stepped down after two years in the position.
No stranger to the GAA in London, Marie has already built-up relationships with London’s clubs and its county board through her role with Irish in Britain, on projects such as Green Hearts.
Addressing delegates at London’s recent county board meeting, Marie said: “My goal will be roll out to mental health first aid training to all of the clubs, starting with leaders within clubs (managers and coaches) and then rolling it out to all the players, volunteers and the general community.”
Marie is an instructor with Mental Health First Aid England, an organisation which runs courses to provide, amongst other things, an in-depth understanding of mental health, practical skills to spot the triggers and give people the confidence to step in and help someone in distress.
Following on from that, the plan is to launch a physical health campaign based around heart health.
“We know that heart health is a priority in the Irish community – we have a higher-than-average rate of health disease,” added Marie.
London county board chairperson Donal Corbett urged all clubs to take the matter of health and well-being “very, very seriously”.
“It is something that’s been a concern for many years and we are now openly addressing it. It’s of huge importance and the GAA is at the forefront of that,” he said.
Marie has been Health and Well-being Development Officer with IiB since November 2017.
IiB is a London-based national charity supporting Irish organisations across the UK, and is funded by the Irish Government.
Her role involves strengthening and developing the health support provided to its members, advocating for change in public policy and facilitating opportunities to engage the Irish community in national and local strategies to improve health.
Originally from Galway, Marie has been living in London for more than ten years.
Her first three years in the city were spent managing The Claddagh Ring in Hendon, before retraining and moving into the health and nutrition field, for which she has a passion.