A new plan which aims to enhance and support the health and wellbeing of children in Galway City during their early years was launched recently.
Galway City Early Years Health and Wellbeing plan focuses on children aged 0-3 years. In launching the plan Ms Hildegarde Naughton T.D. noted "It contains a number of key actions on issues such as health and wellbeing, supporting parents and early learning and development, which can make a real difference in helping to give every child the best start in life. The plan has the potential to be a model for other areas to follow for a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to health and wellbeing in early years."
The plan was compiled under the direction of Galway Healthy Cities, and led by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Health Promotion and Improvement Unit, Galway City Partnership and Galway City Early Years Sub-committee, which is a sub group of Galway Children and Young Peoples Services Committee.
According to Evelyn Fanning from the Health Promotion and Improvement Unit of the HSE
"There is strong evidence to show that early years really matters and that the most effective time to intervene for improving health and wellbeing is before birth and during the first three years of a child’s life. Intervention in the early years is a good investment for the economy and society”.
Supporting parents, early intervention and prevention, breastfeeding, infant and child nutrition, physical activity and play, mental health and wellbeing and early learning and development are some of the key features of the plan.
Dr. Seamus Morrissey of Galway City Partnership said that “The Partnership was delighted to be involved in the development of this action plan. We did an extensive consultation process including online surveys of parents and service providers, focus groups and a consultation day, all of which helped to prioritise actions. We are grateful to all of those who have played a part in the development of the plan.”
The implementation of the plan will be overseen by Galway City Early Years Implementation Group. Some of the initial priorities for action are
- Infant Mental Health,
- Physical Activity/Active Play
- Infant and Child Nutrition.
Dr Phil Jennings who is the HSE's Child Health Lead, said
“Investing in early years sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behaviour and health. The experiences in early childhood shape the brain and a child’s capacity to learn, get along with others and to respond to daily stresses and challenges. Galway City’s Early Years plan provides a unique opportunity for agencies to work together and maximise resources to support health and wellbeing during these early years and help to achieve a healthy Ireland.”
Please click here to read Galway City’s Early Years Health and Well Being plan
Visit Galway Healthy Cities here.
To find out about Galway CYPSC click here.