Today Siel Bleu Ireland turns 8 years old. We are sharing with you 8 highlights over those 8 years!
We cannot believe it’s been eight years since Siel Bleu was established in Ireland. Today, on our birthday, we wanted to share with you some of the highlights which have made the last eight years so memorable.
1. We established Siel Bleu in 2010 and started delivering exercise programmes in 2011 with 45 people in three nursing homes. Today we are proud to be working with 4,500 people every week in nursing homes, day care centres, community groups and private homes across 20 counties.
2. Our ethos has always been to provide a holistic approach to care, encompassing different disciplines to get the best outcomes for older people and people with chronic disease. A highlight we are particularly proud of are our partnerships with other like minded Patient Organisations such as COPD Support Ireland, The Irish Heart Foundation’s Stroke Survivor Groups and Living Well with Dementia. By partnering with these organisations we’ve been able to design programmes specifically for their members and deliver great outcomes.
3. This year we launched our very first awareness week called I Can – Empowering Through Exercise with the goal of changing mindsets about the importance of physical activity as we age. The biggest highlight from the week was our launch event attended by Guest of Honour Minister for Healthy Promotion Catherine Byrne and on his very first duty the new Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring.
4. With years of anecdotal evidence about the benefits of our programmes, in 2012 we took part in the European Commission funded study HAPPIER, which examined the efficacy of our programmes on nursing home residents and the overall organisation. The study took place in 32 nursing homes across four European countries and showed our programmes help to reduce falls and improve participants’ abilities to move, feed and wash themselves.
5. As a small organisation it means the world to us when larger funders offer to help us scale and expand our programmes. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition, who funded us with a generous sustainability grant in 2011. We’ve also been fortunate to have received multiple year funding from the Medtronic Healthy Communities Fund to scale our programmes, namely our Exercise COPD & Me project.
6. Over the last eight years our work and the work of some key members of our staff has been recognised by external bodies. We received two commendations at the Irish Healthcare Awards for our Exercise, COPD & Me project. As a finalist for the Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s Social Enterprise Development Fund we have been accepted onto their Accelerator Programme. Our National Manager, Thomas was a finalist in the Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2014 and our Communications Manager, Carla was shortlisted for the Image Business Woman of the Year Awards.
7. One of our proudest highlights is the building the Siel Bleu team of Physical Trainers. Each trainer has their own style but each is equally skilled at encouraging our participants to try and thrive through exercise.
8. And finally and most importantly – we have always said, the success of Siel Bleu Ireland is the success of our participants. That is truer today than ever. The biggest highlight for us over the last eight years has been our participants. Each and every one of you makes our jobs worthwhile. While we’ve been teaching you physical activity, you’ve taught us so much more about commitment, strength, life and laughter. Some of you have become famous (or infamous in some cases) and some of you choose to quietly do your exercises each week, but each one of you makes Siel Bleu want it is today.
Here’s to the next 8 years!!