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Antrim and Newtownabbey

Disability Sports Hubs Launched for Antrim and Newtownabbey

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council secured funding from Disability Sport Northern Ireland for a Disability Sports Hub in the Borough. A hub has been established at Antrim Forum with two satellite hubs at Allen Park and the Valley Leisure Centre. Officially opening the Sports Hub, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill welcomed a group of adults and children from local groups and schools including Antrim BASE Day Centre, Rosstulla School, St Comgall’s Primary School and Antrim Primary School to Antrim Forum. The investment by Disability Sport Northern Ireland has provided exciting new sports equipment which is now available for individuals and groups to use. Each of the groups took part in a range of physical activities using the equipment, helping raise awareness of the disability sports hubs. Local sporting champion, Michael McKillop attended as a special guest at the event, highlighted his experience as a successful Paralympic athlete.

Mayor’s Thoughts

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill commented; “The aim of this launch is to spread awareness throughout the Borough to all disability groups and show what the Council can offer to people with a disability. Disabled people are currently half as likely to participate in sport as non-disabled people and this initiative will make a huge difference in helping us get more people with a disability, active in Antrim and Newtownabbey. The Hub will also help to fit into the Council’s leisure strategy as we hope to get these disabled groups using the leisure centres and exercising regularly.”

Pupils from St Comgall’s Primary School enjoy the new disability sports equipment at Antrim Forum, funded by Disability Sport Northern Ireland.

Disability Sport NI

Kevin O’Neill, Disability Sport NI’s Chief Executive said, “The establishment of a Disability Sports Hub in all eleven of our District Council areas is a real game changer for people with disabilities here. Disabled people are currently half as likely to participate in sport as non-disabled people and this initiative will make a huge difference in helping us get more people with disabilities active in every area of Northern Ireland.’

Sport Northern Ireland Chair George Lucas added, “Sport Northern Ireland warmly welcomes the launch of the new District Council Disability Sports Hubs. These hubs will help support local people with disabilities to enjoy all the physical, mental and social benefits of participation in sport and physical activity. We look forward to continuing to work with Disability Sport NI, the Department for Communities and our other partners, to implement the Active Living: No Limits Action Plan and deliver positive change to the social, recreational and sporting lives of people with disabilities across Northern Ireland.”

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill is joined by David McKee, Sport and Play Development Officer for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; Libby Thompson, Antrim Primary School; Niamh Gusterson, St Comgall’s Primary School; Victoria Robinson, Antrim BASE Day Centre; Shea McIlveen, St Comgall’s Primary School; Aubrey Bingham, Community Sport Manager at Disability Sport Northern Ireland; Jody Wylie, Rostulla School; Michael McKillop; Emily Roads, Rostulla Primary School and Danny McMurray, Antrim BASE Day Centre for the official opening of the Disability Sports Hub at Antrim Forum.

Futher Information

Explaining more about the Disability Sports Hub, Sport and Play Development Officer, David McKee said; Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has received a disability sports equipment pack including twelve sports wheelchairs, one rugby wheelchair, three track racers, five hand cycles, four tandems, three trikes, three boccia sets and one sensory activity pack. As much as the equipment is for people with a disability, it is also for the non-disabled people in our Borough, to help spread awareness throughout schools and clubs.”

The Disability Sports Hub Project in Northern Ireland was funded by the Department of Communities through Sport NI. This £500,000 project is part of the Active Living: No Limits 2021 Action Plan to improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities in Northern Ireland through participation in sport and active recreation. For more information on the project, contact David McKee T. 028 9446 3113 or E. davd.mckee@antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk

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Antrim and Newtownabbey

Thinking of Applying for a Council Leisure Grant?

Good news for all sports enthusiasts in the Borough!  Applications have reopened for the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Leisure Grant Aid Programme.  Sports clubs, elite athletes, sports officials and governing bodies of sport are all invited to apply.

The programme aims to assist in the promotion and development of sport within the Borough.  Financial assistance can be received for training and competition costs, running of local sporting events, coach education, and facility improvement if the set criteria is met.  Individual athletes can claim up to £1500 and clubs can claim up to £20,000 depending on the requirements of the applicant.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb commented:

“As a Council we are proud to continually invest in our leisure and sporting sector and I am delighted that the Leisure Grant Scheme has significantly benefited numerous elite athletes and sports clubs since it began in 2015”

To apply for a leisure grant visit here.

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Antrim and Newtownabbey

Local Businesses receive Royal Award

Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell and Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor BIlly Webb are pictured with Martin McKay from Texthelp Ltd who was recently awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Three businesses from across Antrim and Newtownabbey were invited to Mossley Mill to recognise their valuable contribution and efforts as recipients of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. 

This prestigious award is designed to recognise and encourage outstanding achievements in the fields of Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility). 

Hosted by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell presented the impressive award to local businesses InspecVision, Environmental Street Furniture and Texthelp. 

Environmental Street Furniture

Environmental Street Furniture was established in 2012. Based in Newtownabbey, the company designs and manufactures a range of innovative outdoor furniture which is solar powered to offer IOT reporting, mobile phone charging and LED lighting. It has recently also launched a range of perimeter security products to protect pedestrians and buildings from terror attacks.

The company had previously manufactured conventional outdoor furniture and had established a sales network across the world. It now sells in 26 markets worldwide and its top five markets are UAE, Hong Kong, Kazakstan, USA and Spain. Overseas sales have grown year on year over three years by a total growth of 415%; and the percentage exported has risen from 40.5% to 78%. The company wins the Queens Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over three years.

InspecVision Ltd 

InspecVision Ltd develop, manufacture and sell 2D and 3D measurement systems for inspection of manufactured com- ponents. Their core market is the sheet metal industry with customers producing components for sectors including auto- motive, aerospace and defence. Based in Mallusk, Northern Ireland, and founded in 2003 by Dr Jan Antonis and his father Mike Antonis. They identified a gap in the market for lower cost, faster, easy to use inspection machines. Developed and launched the Planar 2D, the fastest measurement system for 2D parts.

The product range developed to include 3D inspection. InspecVision’s overseas sales accounts for 93% of it’s total sales and doubled recently with growth in key markets such as the United States, China and Europe. Their focus on the US market was a driver in this growth. R&D of new innovative products and development of strategic partnerships are at the heart of InspecVision’s growth strategy. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over three years.  

Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell; Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor BIlly Webb and Deputy Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Stephen Ross are pictured with Jan Antonis from InspecVision Ltd who was recently awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Texthelp Ltd

Established in 1996, and based in Antrim, Texthelp Ltd is a software company that creates software tools to help people with Literacy and Understanding by making software for students and adults with dyslexia, and for people learning or working in a second language. It believes that everyone’s entitled to the best possible learning and language support on their own personal journey ‘from literacy to life. ‘

The company has offices in Antrim, Boston USA, and in Brisbane Australia. Over the past few years it has had 32 million users of its education software products. Its overseas sales have grown over the last six years by 215%; and the percentage exported has risen to 68%. The USA and Canada are its main markets and it has established new markets in the last six years in: Australia, UAE, Qatar, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Mexico. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Continuous Growth in overseas sales over the last six years.  

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said, “It is a pleasure to be here to celebrate the success of three of our local businesses, InspecVision, Environmental Street Furniture and Texthelp, Each of these businesses is thriving in the face of very challenging times and making a significant contribution to our local economy and community. It is a great achievement that 3 out of the 5 businesses in Northern Ireland to be recognised in the International Trade Category of the Awards are based in our Borough and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for receiving this prestigious honour.” 

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