Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Councils today launched a new sports programme that will create over 100,000 opportunities to participate in sport and physical activity over the next four years.
Active Communities is a new Sport Northern Ireland funded programme that will increase participation in sport and physical activity by increasing the number of full-time and part-time coaches working with schools, clubs and community groups in the region. In particular it will aim to increase participation amongst under represented groups including females, people with a disability and older people.
Multi-sports coaches and physical activity leaders appointed through the programme will be working throughout the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon consortium area delivering activities including outdoor pursuits, gaelic games, disability sports, soccer, badminton, volleyball, dance, physical activity and athletics.
Speaking at the launch held in the Orchard Leisure Centre, the Chief Executive of Armagh John Briggs commented; ‘participation in sport and being physically active is for everyone and we all need to do as much as we can to ensure that everyone has a great 1st experience in sport and they will continue their involvement.’
The Chairman of Banbridge District Council Councillor Mrs Elizabeth Ingram said; ‘coaching has played a huge part in building the base of voluntary sport in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon areas.’ She added; ‘I would like to congratulate the coaches on their appointment and wish them every success with the delivery of the programme.’
The Mayor of Craigavon Councillor Mrs Meta Crozier highlighted the role that the governing bodies will play in the delivery of the programme commenting; ‘I wish this exciting programme every success and I hope that together all organisations involved in this initiative can help build the pathways which will lead participants along the road to lifelong participation in sport.’
Nick Harkness, Director of Participation and Facilities at Sport NI commented; ‘Active Communities is a programme that has been designed to support increased participation in sport and physical recreation. As Sport Northern Ireland is the lead agency for the development of Sport in Northern Ireland, this programme fits well into our overall strategy. The creation of full time employment such as the posts in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Consortia is crucial for the economy, while what they deliver will be vital to the overall health of the community.’
He added, ‘These posts will provide opportunities for participation in a diverse range of sports and activities. In particular, it will create opportunities for under represented groups to take part including older people, women and girls and people with a disability. Sport Northern Ireland is delighted to work in partnership with the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Consortia to develop and deliver Active Communities over the next 5 years.’
Young people from St Catherines College in Armagh, members of the Over 50’s club at the Orchard Leisure Centre and from Appleby Social Education Centre attended the launch and had the opportunity to participate in taster sessions in a range of activities under the guidance of the new multi-sports coaches.
To find out more about the Active Communities Programme and how your group can benefit, please contact Edel Ferson in Armagh on 028 3752 9636, Gillian Dewart in Banbridge on 028 4066 0637 or Wanda Rea in Craigavon on 028 3831 1691.