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White Flag Awards Press Release

07 October, 2013

Ireland Active Celebrates White Flag Excellence Awards

Leisure and Fitness professionals from all over Ireland gathered in Cork on Thursday night, 3rd October, to celebrate the annual Ireland Active (formally ILAM) White Flag Excellence Awards which took place at a Gala Dinner in City Hall. It is the main social event in the calendar year for those working in the leisure industry, and was attended by over 300 delegates.

The awards kicked off with a drinks reception, followed by a fabulous dinner and dancing Special guest on the night Jerry Buttimer TD, Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, who spoke to attendees on the importance of health and the goals of Ireland Active as an organisation said “Obesity is a real issue in our country that needs to addressed and not avoided anymore. It is Ireland Active along with the health and leisure industry's professional staff and facilities, along with other stakeholders, that can play a key role in addressing how we solve this problem."

There was a special presentation to all clubs who have reached the industry standard in the White Flag quality award. The White Flag Award, which grades facility standards, and is similar to the Blue Flag award which classifies Ireland’s beaches, is fast become the most sought after accolade in the leisure world. It is the only specific industry award for the Irish Leisure and Spa Industry. The White Flag award is based on the 3 essential areas when operating any leisure centre or spa; safety, hygiene & maintenance and customer care. The awards are designed to encourage continuous improvement and are categorised into three levels, gold, silver and bronze.

Christine Moloney, Chairperson of Ireland Active said “The White Flag Awards are a fantastic way for our Ireland Active members to show just what an excellent job they are doing. It not only recognises the great standards that our members achieve but also the improvement that they make year on year. The awards are a fantastic opportunity for our members to get together and celebrate the great work that is being done in our industry as a whole’

The awards dinner took place following a highly successful annual conference which saw key areas of concern for industry attendees addressed, including importance of water quality and hygiene in public pools, safety standards, GP Exercise Referral programme including focus on obesity and stress management. The conference featured a key note address from Herman Rutgers, former Executive Director of EHFA, the European Health and Fitness Association in Brussels who spoke about the ‘role of fitness and leisure dealing with growing health issues and obesity.’

Social entrepreneur Caroline Casey of not-for-profit organisation ‘Kanchi’, and its pioneering social franchise ‘The Ability Awards’ also delivered an informative speech on disability provision for the greater public.  John Lonergan, former Governor of Mountjoy Prison also spoke to delegates about the role of exercise and sport in our society.

At the Gala Dinner, an exciting new rebrand was unveiled.  Formerly ILAM, Irish Leisure Amenity Management, Ireland Active has been launched as the refreshing new brand which hopes to get more people more active, more often, and will set the tone for the launch of the Strategic Plan 2013-2015.

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For further information
Ann-Marie Barron, Fuzion Communications, 086 8684555

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