Siel Bleu Ireland

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Siel Bleu Ireland: Adding Life to Years and Years toLife!

Dublin, IrelandDublin, Ireland
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Siel Bleu Ireland is a social enterprise that utilises specialised physical activities to improve the lives of older populations. Our specially designed evidence based exercise programmes counteract sedentary lifestyles, prevent illness and promote active and healthy ageing.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Ireland, we currently have an ageing population. A century ago, our life expectancy was in the region of 50 years. Today, average life expectancy for men is 76.8 years, and women 81.6 years. However, living longer does not guarantee that older populations are leading independent and active lives.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our highly skilled trainers utilise Adapted Physical Activities (APA), which are specifically designed for those who cannot partake in traditional “one size fits all” exercise classes for any number of physical or cognitive reasons. We provide group activities for up to 15 participants (per session). The unique aspect of our work is that we adapt all our exercises to meet participants’ needs and abilities; no matter the level of dependence of a participant we have a programme that will suit. Our work encompasses health preservation through physical activity, mental health through promoting active behaviour and social benefits through interaction with other participants and our staff.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our success is actually the success of our participants. Whether it is John in Drumcondra who can put his own socks on and tie his own laces for the first time in 4 years following participation in one of our community classes for six weeks. Another example is Jimmy who lives in a west Dublin nursing home, who gained the confidence in his own abilities and progressed from a wheelchair to a walking frame. These stories and hundreds more are really our achievements.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Siel Bleu Ireland currently has a staff comprising of 5 full time and 9 part time. Our 12 trainers currently work with over 1650 people in 16 counties on a weekly basis. Recently we measured the effect of our programmes as part of a European study called HAPPIER. Over a 15 month period, we measured the effect of or programmes in in 32 nursing homes with 450 nursing residents. Following completion of the study, the key findings of the study were; - An increase in residents levels of strength, coordination and flexibility. - Increases in participants ability to wash themselves, dress themselves and use the bathroom by themselves The wash also a notable increase in the mood of the participants in the study. Interestingly there was also an increase in the mood levels of the care staff who participated in the exercise programmes and in the control group.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The findings of the HAPPIER study confirm that Siel Bleu Ireland's exercise programmes are an affordable preventative health measure. In the next 4 years, Siel Bleu Ireland aims to deliver exercise programmes in 225 nursing homes in Ireland, which is approximately 50% of all nursing homes currently in Ireland. In the next 6 years, Siel Bleu Ireland aims to provide affordable and accessible exercise programmes to all members of Ireland's senior population.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

There are currently 450 nursing homes in Ireland,54 of which we work with. Siel Bleu Ireland charges nursing homes for our services, the prices ranges between €49 and €55 per session. With community groups we charge €4 per person. Over the next 3 years, we aim to deliver programmes in over 225 nursing homes throughout Ireland which will ensure the financial sustainability of Siel Bleu Ireland and in turn provid employment to 30 people.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our main competitor is a company called Fit for life that provides exercise programmes in nursing homes throughout Ireland since 1999. Certain nursing homes also employ local freelance physical trainers to deliver exercise programmes. Our two main USP's are; 1. Our trainers are highly qualified and trained. Our trainers have a minimum of a third level college degree in the area of physical activity. 2. The HAPPIER study is an evidence based study that demonstrates the positive effect our programmes can have on nursing homes residents and reducing the workload on nursing home staff.

Founding Story

Siel Bleu France was establised in Strasbourg in 1997 by two university graduates; Jean-Daniel Muller and Jean-Michel Ricard. Recognizing that the use of physical activity as a preventative health tool, Jean-Daniel and Jean-Michel ran a six month pilot programme with 12 nursing homes. Today, Siel Bleu works with over 3000 nursing homes in France on a weekly basis and have expanded into Belguim, Spain and Ireland. Siel Bleu Ireland was established in 2010 and currently works with over 1650 people on a weekly basis in 16 counties. In the past


The Siel Bleu Ireland team for this project is; Thomas McCabe - National Manager Carla Piera FitzGerald - Communications Officer Andrew McBride - Development Officer Martina Carton - Senior Trainer Darren Loftus - Senior Trainer Siel Bleu Ireland also has 9 part time trainers in Ireland delivering programmes nationally. Siel Bleu Ireland is also supported by a board that has been in place since July of 2014.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name

Mc Cabe

About Your Project
Organization Name
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Organization Country

, DB, Dublin

Country where this project is creating social impact

, DB, Dublin

Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Foundations, Businesses, Customers.

Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?

I have recently been shortlisted as a finalist in the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in the best-established business category.

In March 2014 Siel Bleu Ireland was also a finalist in the King Baudouin Foundation Social Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing.

Where have you learnt about the competition?
Tell us about your partnerships:

We deliver activity programmes in 51 nursing homes throughout Ireland and have partnered with the following organisations to deliver programmes nationwide; Nutricia Medical, Boehringer Ingelheim, Lloyds Pharmacy, Credit Unions, Irish Men’s Sheds, Fibro Ireland, Arthritis Ireland, Move4parkinsons, Alzheimer’s Ireland, Living Well With Dementia Stillorgan, COPD Ireland, Post Polio Ireland, MS Society, IWA, ICWA.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Cultural perception of APA in Ireland
Physical activity is not seen by all as an effective preventative health measure. Through the publication of the results of the HAPPIER study, we believe that we can over come this challenge

We aim to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by highlighting our non profit and charity status and also by highlighting our effectiveness with the HAPPIER study

Lack of government funding
In France, the government provides finding for exercise programmes,we aim to lobby key government figures in order to highlight our effectiveness