The county’s first-ever strategic plan set outs its goals to ‘promote, encourage and grow’ the GAA
London’s GAA clubs and its members must come together to ensure the success of the county’s first-ever strategic plan, says new county board chairperson Donal Corbett.
Officially unveiled at London GAA’s recent Convention, the plan is being rolled out across the county with immediate effect.
Its purpose is to “set the focus” and provide “direction” for London GAA over the next three years (2021 to 2024) and to “ensure the sustained protection and growth of Gaelic games in the County”.
“We have differing opinions on how to achieve our goals, but we cannot have different goals,” said Corbett.
“Our strategic plan will give us focus on where to go – we must work to ensure that we get there. Over the next three years we have a guideline in our strategic plan.
“If our strategic plan requires tweaking or redirection, we can do that. But at the end of the three years, we can see where we are and what we’ve achieved.”
A sentiment echoed by outgoing London chairperson John Lacey who said that the plan outlined the “foundation of our future success as a county” and would “require the continued support of all London GAA” to make it a success.
Corbett went on to tell London’s GAA members that “we shouldn’t be afraid to change”, in order to achieve “a mark of success” at both club and county level.
“If we need to change our fixtures to suit what London needs, we should do that,” he said.
“We need success for our London footballers in Connacht, we need success for our football and hurling clubs in Connacht, and we need more success in Britain for our intermediate hurlers.”
The plan is made up of seven key areas of focus (or streams), each with their own leader.
The seven streams, and their leaders, are; Governance (Donal Corbett), Volunteer recruitment (Dee Malone) and development, Youth (Joel. McInern and Colleen Lynott), Communications (Fiona O’Brien), Facilities (Tony Griffin), Adult games (John O’Neill) and Finance and fundraising (Stephen Lohan).
Every stream has its own clearly defined objectives “to bring London forward”, and specific and “vital” actions to achieve these goals. Each action has a timeline with responsibilities assigned so that progress can be monitored.
Each stream leader will oversee a focus group, to which they have appointed members to assist them in achieving their respective goals.
“I know that the people of London GAA are as good as in any county, anywhere. Our work together is to improve our standards on the field of play, in both club and county,” Corbett added.
The strategic plan applies to adult men’s and youth GAA in London, but delegates were told that guidance would be taken from Croke Park with regards to the ladies Gaelic football and camogie within the county.
Work on the plan, led by London GAA finance and operations manager Stephen Lohan, in his capacity as planning leader, began in January 2020.
Initially it was intended to launch the plan around Easter, but that timetable was pushed back because of Covid-19.
As part of a “broad and extensive” consultation process, input was sought from clubs and members of the GAA within London, with a total of 27 in-depth interviews conducted and 54 responses to the club survey that was sent out.
The consultation phase identified 22 on-going projects within London GAA and 596 challenges and/or opportunities.
“Having consulted widely in formulating the strategic plan it is believed the proposed roadway will ensure that London GAA will continue to prosper and develop at all levels,” said London GAA in its introduction to the plan.
The aim being to ensure the GAA in London is in a “better place” in three years time.
Speaking to the Irish World back in January 2020, Stephen Lohan called it “a plan driven by London GAA for London GAA”.
Adrian Hassett, Connacht GAA operations manager, worked very closely with Stephen Lohan, planning leader Tadgh Lee, and the plan’s steering group members, during the process.
Going forwards, London GAA says it will be the intent to produce a similar plan every three years.
The launch of the plan coincides with the 125-year Anniversary of the GAA in London – a landmark the board plans to commemorate throughout the course of 2021.