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Derry City & Strabane

Sports Day Initiative is a Ready, Steady and Go for Local Schools

Mayor Brian Tierney with P7 pupils at St. Patrick's PS, Pennyburn, who took part in the Healthy Kidz Challenge. Included on left, Stephen McCallion, teacher, Gail Kinkead, Healthy Kidz Challenge organiser, and on right, Eamon Devlin, school principal. Photo Credit: Tom Heaney, nwpresspics

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, has launched a Sports Day initiative for Derry and Strabane schools in partnership with Healthy Kidz and the Henderson Group.

The Mayor is encouraging all local schools to participate in the Healthy Kidz Sports Day in partnership with SPAR, EUROSPAR & ViVO, to celebrate the end of the year and enjoy some physical exercise.  As part of this initiative, he aims to raise funds for his chosen charity Aurora Counselling in a specially designed ‘Beat the Mayor Challenge’.

Speaking about the Sports Day initiative, Mayor Tierney said: “I’m so excited to launch this campaign in our local schools. With children now back at school, I want to encourage them to get outside for physical activities, have fun and take part in their school’s Sports Day. 

“Lockdowns and school closures have been extremely tough on school children and staff. What our children need now is a sense of normality. Therefore, through this initiative we are providing a solution with Healthy Kidz and the Henderson Group to relieve any stress and pressure on principals, and ultimately help them deliver their school’s Sports Day.”

Healthy Kidz provide all the resources that schools need to deliver a socially-distanced Sports Day. All resources are easily accessible online, free of charge and include the following content: set sporting challenges, how-to video tutorials and downloadable certificates.

Mayor Tierney added: “I’ve set three Mayoral challenges for the children to compete against me and I can’t wait to see the results. The fun sporting activities include the traditional Egg and Spoon Race, a Welly Boot Toss, Sprint and lots more. The children will also compete against other pupils in their school and record all results in the Healthy Kidz website.

 “I’m planning to visit some local schools and I look forward to seeing the children being outside, laughing and creating memories. All funds raised from the Mayor’s Challenge will be donated to assist Aurora Counselling to continue their charity work, providing such a great service for the local community.”

Mayor Brian Tierney ‘throwing the welly boot’ in the Healthy Kidz Challenge held in St. Patrick’s PS, Pennyburn. Included is his daughter Mary Kate Tierney (pupil) and Gail Kinkead, Healthy Kidz Challenge organiser. Photo Credit: Tom Heaney, nwpresspics

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group commented; “Our SPAR NI brand has been delivering sports day kits to every primary school in Northern Ireland for over 10 years, so when COVID hit and things looked very different last year, we were determined to deliver an initiative which kept kids active, brought out that end of term competitive spirit and put their wellbeing front and centre.

“This year we are giving schools the opportunity to sign up and receive a ‘Healthy Kidz Sports Day Resource Pack’. It details everything from the sports day set up, to how to practice all the challenges in the run up to the big day, plus bringing that element of interactivity and fun for all involved.”

Healthy Kidz is a holistic Health and Wellbeing Programme for schools, organisations and communities, aimed at increasing physical, general and emotional health of children across Northern Ireland and the UK. 

Paul Carvill, Director of Coaching at Healthy Kidz added; “We had a phenomenal success with the introduction of the virtual sports day last year, but there is nothing like the real thing for pupils, teachers and their parents to enjoy.

“We have had a lot of fun creating the programme this year, and we’re delighted hundreds of schools have signed up and will be delivering the programme throughout May and June. To have the support of SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOXTRA again this year makes it even better as we have prizes for schools to win, from fun days to kit, and we even have created videos of Sammy SPAR in training for his own sports day, which will provide more engagement for children.”

To find out more information about the Healthy Kidz Sports Day, visit You can follow all the Sports Day action on the Mayor’s Facebook page.

Derry City & Strabane

Advice and Support Available as Part of Alcohol Awareness Week

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, has said being aware of recommended limits and the effects of alcohol, and education around the potential dangers of alcohol, is extremely important.

The message comes as part of Alcohol Awareness Week, which takes place from Monday 14th to Sunday 20th June. It is supported by the Public Health Agency and the five Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams and centres around encouraging people to take a closer look at their drinking habits by counting their units to see if they’re staying within the recommended weekly limits.

Mayor Warke said that taking some time to evaluate personal alcohol consumption is recommended.

“Many people like to enjoy alcohol in moderation, but sometimes it can be very easy to find yourself consuming more than is recommended without even realising.

“This can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health, so it’s hugely important that everyone consuming alcohol is aware of the legal age, the recommended limits and is checking in on how that measures up with their own habits.

“The stresses and challenges of the past 16 months, and how much we have all been staying at home, may have led to some people drinking more alcohol than they typically would have before, so Alcohol Awareness Week this year is a particularly good opportunity to pick up a few helpful tips on how you can make small changes that will have a big difference in ensuring you can enjoy alcohol safely and in moderation.”

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Derry City & Strabane

Further Regeneration of St Columb’s Park En Route

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced investment of almost £230,000 for a regeneration project designed to replace a pedestrian entrance and to improve car parking facilities into St Columb’s Park. 

An investment of £183,535 from the Department for Communities, £25,000 from the Executive Office and £21,160 from Derry City and Strabane District Council will enable the improvements to commence.

This funding package will see the creation of a new pedestrian entrance opposite the Peace Tree, giving better and safer access/egress to St Columb’s Park from Ebrington Estate and wider links to the Waterside and City Centre. The car park will be resurfaced, reconfigured and realigned allowing for disabled parking and will include ramps, a new pedestrian pathway linking the car park to the new entrance and new crossing points.  Soft landscaping will further enhance the area with the planting of hedging and trees.

Minister Hargey said: “I am delighted to announce this funding which will progress and complement the continued regeneration of St Columb’s Park.  This project will enhance this stunning public amenity providing a safer, welcoming space for wellbeing, where we can walk, cycle and enjoy the extensive green space benefiting both the local community and visitors to the area.

“My Department continues to support our town and city centres recover from the impacts of Covid-19 and with increased usage over the past year it is more important than ever to invest in our cities green spaces.”

Welcoming the news, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney said: “I very much welcome the announcement of this funding which will enable us to finish works at the gateway to our beautiful St Columb’s Park, complementing the landscaping already completed on the Avenue. It will make accessing the park easier and more visually attractive for local people and visitors alike.

“Council continues to prioritise and invest in green space provision across the City and District and to identify opportunities to develop and enhance our green infrastructure to benefit the health, wellbeing and convenience of everyone. I want to thank our partners in the Department and The Executive Office, and commend everyone involved in the fantastic work on this project to date.”​

This project has been jointly developed by The Executive Office and Derry City and Strabane District Council.  The project will be managed by the Council who have already successfully completed a number of public realm projects in this beautiful park. 

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