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HUNDREDS of people are stepping into November on a healthier foot after engaging with the area’s first ever Tallaght Community Health Awareness Month, which ran throughout October.
Health Awareness Month has grown from the popular Tallaght Health Fair, which due to current guidelines was unable to go ahead in its traditional format for the past two years.
However, seeing a need for people to learn, engage and connect with health services, supports and activities, the first-ever Tallaght Community Health Awareness Month was this year launched by the Fettercairn Health Project.
Through a mix of community-based, accessible events and online activities, the practical and relevant programme strived to bring supports into the heart of communities, introducing and re-connecting people with services after lockdown.
Throughout October, the health fair, which was a pilot project trialled in response to the needs of local communities, connected with 1,500 people.
Samantha Griffin, Fettercairn Health Project co-ordinator, told The Echo: “Health fairs such as Tallaght Community Health Awareness Month are a way to address health assessments and screenings and make them assessible to local communities.
“Health fairs are an important community approach to help people in the community live their healthiest lives possible.
“Tallaght Community Awareness Month provided an opportunity for the community to engage in various activities.
“These services are vital for our communities.
“During the month we reached out to 1,413 people in the community.”
According to Samantha, local pharmacies, which offered free health screenings during October, believe there is a need for ongoing health promotion in communities.
“Speaking to the local pharmacists they feel there is a need for ongoing health promotion,” Samantha said.
“Killinarden Pharmacy Hub, Rossfield Pharmacy and Hickeys Pharmacy are three pharmacies in the community who have offered to continue these services to local communities.
“These pharmacies have offered to continue these free services – blood pressure and BMI testing – throughout the year as a walk-in when available.”
The month was supported by a range of community-based services, organisations, and charities, including the Marie Keating Foundation Mobile Unit, which visited Fettercairn, MacUilliam, Killinarden and Jobstown for Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Information Days.
Tallaght University Hospital, South Dublin County Partnership, the HSE, community centres, local libraries and more all linked up for the inaugural event.
“I would like to thank everyone for the amazing support during Tallaght Community Health Awareness Month,” Samantha said.
“So many people went beyond the call of duty in ensuring the success of running 53 different events.
“The variety of these events ensured that we were able to take a holistic view of the health needs of our local communities.”
Samantha also wished to thank the Irish Red Cross and Homeless Period Ireland for their generous donations, which enabled some 340 health bags to be made up for participants.
For further information on the Fettercairn Health Project, which is based in the South Dublin County Partnership office in Tallaght, visit its Facebook page or call 01 4649300.