Connect with us

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

First Minister Talks Politics with Students in Banbridge

First Minister Arlene Foster during a visit to Banbridge Academy school in Banbridge, Co Down. Photo Credit: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

First Minister Arlene Foster took questions from sixth form politics students in Banbridge Academy last week.

During a visit to the school, Mrs Foster answered questions covering a range of subjects, from Brexit to her experiences as a woman in public life.

Asked if she would recommend a career in politics, the First Minister said: “Yes I would, without hesitation. Despite all the challenges, it is a hugely rewarding career. As well as representing my constituency, I have been able to represent Northern Ireland. That has been the greatest privilege of my life. To go to places and sell Northern Ireland as a place to invest in and a place to visit is a tremendous privilege.”

The First Minister said the greatest achievement of her career may be the work on tourism, and the efforts to make Northern Ireland a destination which attracts visitors from around the globe.

First Minister Arlene Foster during a visit to Banbridge Academy school in Banbridge, Co Down.
Photo Credit: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

The First Minister was also asked if she had any regrets about her time in office. Mrs Foster said: “All of us are going to look back and wish we had done some things differently. But it’s important to learn from that – everyone makes mistakes, but we should use the lessons from this to move forward.”

As for her plans when she leaves office, the First Minister said: “I haven’t had much time to think about it. But I do hope to keep talking about social media, the harms it does, and the problem with anonymous abuse. People say things on social media that they wouldn’t say on the street, and I am very concerned about it. The government in Westminster is looking at reforms, but I think we need to go further – I would hope to use my skills and experience as part of this.”

First Minister Arlene Foster during a visit to Banbridge Academy school in Banbridge, Co Down. The First Minister is pictured with Principal Robin McLoughlin and pupils from Year 13, Ben Greer, Evie McKinney, Catherine Longsdale and Joe Magee.
Photo Credit: Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Thanking the students and staff at Banbridge Academy for the invitation, Mrs Foster said that it was always enjoyable to visit a school.

The First Minister added: “It has been a disruptive time for pupils in schools across the country. Thankfully, things are returning to normal with children now back in the classroom.

“The energy and optimism of the next generation should give us all hope and positivity for our future.”

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.”

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading