Two County Armagh sports clubs and their neighbouring communities have benefited from funding of £864,000 from the Social Investment Fund (SIF).
As part of the Executive’s Delivering Social Change framework, the Community Enhancement through Sport Project has delivered significant facility upgrades at St Patrick’s GFC, Cullyhanna and Annagh United FC, Portadown. A further element is due to complete at the end of May 2021.
The recently completed works include the creation of new training and playing facilities, as well as site improvements that will allow easier access to, and increased usage of, the clubs’ grounds.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “The Executive is committed to improving people’s lives through social change, and this £864,000 package of works is a great example of how projects delivered through the Social Investment Fund are making a real impact in local communities.
“These upgraded facilities will help to improve the health and wellbeing of people of all ages and abilities. They will not only provide more sporting opportunities for children, young people and adults, but also enable the clubs to expand the range of services they provide to their local communities.”
The deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill added: “The delivery of flagship projects at the local level are core to the rollout of the Social Investment Fund. Improving sporting and leisure facilities deliver a community asset while also contributing positively to the physical and mental health, and well-being through sport. These new facilities also show the practical benefit of the Executive working in partnership with local government and communities.”
“These improvements will benefit not just club members and supporters, but also the wider community. I have no doubt that when the public health situation improves these facilities will be a hive of activity and will bring great enjoyment and tangible health and social benefits to very many people.”
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council led delivery of the Community Enhancement through Sport Project in the SIF Southern Zone.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Kevin Savage commented: “I’m delighted to see the delivery of these very worthy projects at Annagh United FC in Portadown and St. Patrick’s GFC in Cullyhanna. Instilling a great sense of pride in these communities, these newly transformed sporting hubs now offer enhanced, modernised and professional recreational facilities, helping support and enrich the physical and mental wellbeing of local residents for many years to come.”
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.
“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.”
Local Residents, Businesses, Council Staff & Councillors Work Up a Sweat for Charity!
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.