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Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

Be Nurtured by Nature on Council’s New Life Camp Programme

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council has launched a new programme designed to equip local people with the skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience to support development of independent and sustainable lifestyles.

Funded by ABC Council’s PEACE IV initiative, the Life Camp Trainee Programme commences on Thursday 10 June 2021 and is open to local residents aged 18 and over living in areas of social deprivation in the ABC Council area.

Based at the Bushcraft Centre at Oxford Island and delivered by their trained instructors and external professionals, the free 16-week training programme includes outdoor and water-based activities such as cycling, hill walking, adventure climbing as well as canoeing, paddle boarding and water safety training.

Covering sustainable living principles, the programme also guides participants on the importance of protecting and preserving the natural world; plus includes practical sessions on how to build survival shelters, forage for food and light fires to name a few.

Truly immersed in nature, programme trainees also get the opportunity to benefit from a range of mental health and wellbeing workshops as well as gain qualifications in health and safety, food hygiene and first aid.

With a focus on personal growth, the programme aims to positively impact the lives of participants by helping them enhance their physical and mental wellbeing, acquire new and essential life skills as well as increase awareness of environmental and conservation issues – ultimately supporting the most hard to reach people in our community achieve their full potential.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Kevin Savage comments:

“Through council’s PEACE IV Programme, we are committed to making a difference in our local communities and building positive relationships to help improve the quality of life for all the borough’s residents.

“This latest PEACE initiative is a fantastic opportunity for local people to enjoy a range of outdoor and vocational activities while getting to experience the beautiful natural surroundings of Oxford Island. Promising not only to be great fun, the programme also promotes participants’ ability to learn, builds confidence and develops key personal and social skills – helping support them on their journey to lead productive, independent and sustainable lives.”

Life Camp Trainee Porgramme

To be eligible to apply to the Life Camp Trainee Programme you must live in an area of social deprivation in the ABC Council area, be aged 18 years or over, have not previously engaged in a PEACE IV programme and be able to commit to the full programme. ABC Council welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

The project is funded by the PEACE IV programme, a cross-border initiative, financed through the European Union and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). This programme has been designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.

Closing date for expression of interest is Monday 31 May 2021. With limited places available, please note an expression of interest does not guarantee a place.

For more information contact, or complete your expression of interest here.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

South Lake Leisure Centre ‘Go Award’ Winner!

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council together with Farrans have recently scooped a prestigious ‘Go Award’ for the brand new, state-of-the-art South Lake Leisure Centre build.

Taking place virtually on 27 May 2021, the Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Northern Ireland Awards recognise innovative public procurement practices within local and central government as well as the private sector.

Bagging the Social Value Award for its contribution to the local area, the South Lake Leisure Centre project helped bring together over 10,000 individuals to take part in progressive education and employment programmes during its construction.

With a shared vision to leave a lasting legacy, the collaborative initiative focused on creating a thriving economy underpinned by the skill set of the local people; empowering and strengthening communities; and tackling social inequalities.

“What a fantastic achievement!” commented Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr.

Aspiring young engineers being shown the ropes at Farrans’ International Women in Engineering Day event at the South Lake Leisure Centre site in 2019.

“This award win is a testament to everyone’s hard work, dedication and determination to continually go beyond normal standards in order to make a real difference to the lives of people in the local area. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this impressive project – very well done!”

During the South Lake Leisure Centre construction, the project exceeded apprenticeship targets and work experience targets by 37% and 73% respectively.

Sarah Fearon, Community Business Partner for Farrans, said:

“As a business we recognise our ability to have a positive and lasting societal impact through the delivery of our social value programmes, which bring economic, social and environmental benefits to the communities in which we operate.

“Our core business operations enhance prosperity through our commitment to procuring goods and services locally, supporting SMEs, creating apprenticeships and job opportunities, and working closely with our supply chain to drive innovation.

“We were pleased to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, social enterprises, schools, local suppliers and the community to ensure that we placed the needs of the people at the heart of our operations at South Lake Leisure Centre.”

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Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

Local Residents, Businesses, Council Staff & Councillors Work Up a Sweat for Charity!

Pictured at Go East for India instructor led spin class, Fiona Greenfield, Councillor Paul Greenfield, Alderman Gareth Wilson and South Lake Leisure Centre team member.

Last week saw local residents, businesses, council staff and councillors run, cycle and paddle to help raise vital funds for the Oxfam India Covid-19 Appeal – with donations still open!

Led by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, the calorie busting fundraiser got into gear on Tuesday 8 June at South Lake Leisure Centre – seeing everyone from fitness fanatics to those up for a challenge take part in instructor-led spin classes, a biathlon involving running and kayaking at Craigavon Lakes and a day long spin-a-thon.

While the fundraising challenge reached the finish line on Friday 11 June, donations continue to roll in and will continue to be accepted until Wednesday 30 June 2021.

Funds raised will help Oxfam distribute PPE and medical equipment to hospitals and health centres; provide food and cash to the most vulnerable; and remove the barriers to increasing vaccine production and ensure access for everyone.

Thanking everyone who took part in and donated to the charity challenge, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr commented:

“I’m so pleased to see so many of the borough’s residents, businesses, council staff and elected members get behind this worthy cause and help raise money for the Oxfam India Covid-19 Appeal.

“In council, we’ve forged strong working relationships with many government and business leaders in India since our first trade mission to the country back in 2017. As we witnessed the devastating scenes coming from the region over the past number of weeks, we felt compelled to do something to help the people of India in their hour of need.

“We hope our fundraising efforts will help support Oxfam’s ongoing response to the crisis and I would encourage everyone to continue to donate if they can.”

In 2017, council established a long-standing association with India through the launch of the ‘Export to India – Go East Programme’. This programme enabled businesses from across the borough to take part in a trade mission to India, establishing many positive business partnerships, particularly in the Chennai region.

With donations still open, you can donate to the Oxfam India Covid-19 Appeal here or if you would like to learn more about the appeal click here.

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