Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers TD, last week returned to the schoolyard at St Brigid’s NS in Castleknock where he used to play as a boy and joined in a day of special celebration of the school’s participation in The Daily Mile – an initiative promoted by Athletics Ireland.
“It was wonderful to take part in The Daily Mile with the pupils at my old primary school and my visit prompted many warm memories of my time there,” Minister Chambers said.
“From speaking with teachers and pupils at the school, It’s clear to see that The Daily Mile continues to be a great success story.
“The data emerging on likely future health trends and obesity levels among our young is potentially very worrying, so initiatives like The Daily Mile that encourage children to get out exercising in the fresh air are hugely important and deserve to be supported.
“The government has set a target for overall participation in sport of at least 60% of the population by 2027 and programmes like The Daily Mile, in which children can walk or run in an enjoyable atmosphere with their friends, will play a huge role in meeting that target.
“The mental health benefits of The Daily Mile are also important and it is fantastic that so many teachers and parents report much-improved wellbeing among children who participate in this great initiative, led by Athletics Ireland.
“I want to congratulate all the teachers, parents and pupils in St Brigid’s and in all schools making The Daily Mile part of their school day.”
The Daily Mile initiative was founded by Elaine Wyllie, a schoolteacher in Scotland, in 2012. There are now well over a thousand Irish primary schools signed up to The Daily Mile and that number is growing every week during the school year.
“The Daily Mile is one of the best programmes we have ever launched at St Brigid’s,” School Principal, Denis Courtney said. “We could see from the start that walking or running daily would help make the children fit but we have also seen other, equally important benefits to their mental, emotional and social health and wellbeing become apparent over time.”
A long-time supporter of The Daily Mile, Denis Courtney is due to retire on June 30th after 20 years of sterling service as School Principal at St Brigid’s NS.
“It has been a wonderful and uplifting day at St Brigid’s NS,” Athletics Ireland CEO, Hamish Adams said. “It has given us a chance to see The Daily Mile in action and it’s nice to see that Sports Minister Jack Chambers is still fleet of foot.”