The Irish Red Cross Healthy Steps initiative aims to improve community health and promote social inclusion

Irish Red Cross healthy steps

After recently beating prostate cancer, Thomas McElearney (77) from Co. Louth and his wife Mary were determined to continue leading a very active social life focused around family, friends and dancing. Tom and Mary found that there was a lack of health based programmes for their age group in their local area.


After spotting an article in the local paper about an Irish Red Cross Healthy Steps group, Thomas decided to join in. He thought it would be a great way to get involved in his community as well as keeping fit. In particular, he felt that people in his age group would benefit from this initiative, as they would be encouraged to go outside and be active.


The Irish Red Cross Healthy steps initiative was developed as a lifestyle programme.  A programmes that allows local Irish Red Cross volunteers to engage with their communities, enabling healthy living in Irish communities. The eight week walking programme is supported by Irish Red Cross volunteers and partners who lead a walking group on various routes over an eight week period. Anyone can join the group, no matter what their age or fitness level.


After joining the Health Steps group in his area, Tom noticed that he started to look forward to the weekly walks. But more than that, he looked forward to socialising people he never would have met otherwise. Along with encouraging him to get fitter, for Tom the walks were a way of getting out of the house and making new friends. By the end of the Healthy Steps programme Tom volunteered to take on the role as Healthy Steps leader, setting a fast pace and encouraging others in the group.


For more information on the Healthy Steps programme, please contact


The Irish Red Cross Healthy Steps initiative aims to improve community health and promote social inclusion. Healthy Steps groups are free and led by volunteer leaders.