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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.”

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

New Business Start-Up Grant Scheme Launched

Pictured at the launch of the new Business Start-Up Grant Scheme (L-R) Councillor Declan McAlinden, Chair of Economic Development and Regeneration Committee; Dermot Hicks, representing the partnering enterprise agencies; Alderman Glenn Barr, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon; and Nicola Wilson, Head of ABC Council Economic Development department.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council launches new Business Start-Up Grant Scheme to support local budding entrepreneurs.

Led by ABC Council in partnership with Armagh Business Centre, Banbridge Enterprise Centre and Craigavon Industrial Development Organisation, the new Scheme will offer a limited number of cash grants of up to £500 to assist with the development of new businesses across the borough.

Now accepting applications, the Scheme is open to new start-ups based in the borough who have joined the Go For It Programme since 1 July 2021, completed their business plan by 30 September 2021 and will begin trading within six months of finishing the Programme, demonstrating the greatest potential for growth.

Speaking at the launch of the Business Start-Up Grant Scheme, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr said:

“With an abundance of skilled, ambitious and hardworking people, our borough has long been praised as a strong entrepreneurial region. As a council, we recognise the important role entrepreneurs play in ensuring inclusive recovery and growth across our local economy, which is why we are committed to continuing our support within this key business sector.

“We hope this Scheme will help support the creation and sustainability of new business start-ups within the borough; and I would encourage anyone that is eligible to speak to their local enterprise agency to find out more.”  

Helping eligible entrepreneurs fund some of the expenses associated with the start-up process, the grant aid can be used to cover everything from rent, rates, new equipment and stock to training memberships, courses and the fit out of business premises. 

Speaking on behalf of the partnering enterprise agencies, Dermot Hicks said:

“We are delighted to be able to offer this support to emerging businesses in the borough and we hope that it will encourage more people to pursue their passion of starting their own business.”

To find out more about the Programme, eligibility and assessment process, get in touch with your local enterprise agency:

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Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

Council Makes ‘Summer of Play’ Pledge

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council gets behind the ‘Summer of Play’ campaign to help give children the space, time and freedom to play this summer as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

From fun-filled summer schemes, £1 swims, wide-ranging sports sessions to energetic dance clubs, imaginative play programmes and more taking place right across council leisure centres, community centres, parks and open spaces, the borough’s youngest residents are all set to have a summer to remember!

But, wait there’s more! As ABC Council cannot celebrate this year’s National Play Day in the usual way, it will instead be rolling out an exciting new programme, ‘It’s Good to Chalk’ during its summer schemes, play programmes and Love Parks Week initiatives this July and August.

With boxes of wonderfully colourful chalk, children on these programmes can let their imaginations run wild and create everything from beautiful pavement drawings to original outdoor games and activities. What’s more, the programme will encourage the children to talk about their creations, helping them explore and express their thoughts and feelings.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Jackie Donnelly said:

“The pandemic has posed a challenging and uncertain time for many, not least the borough’s children and young people – with many having to spend large periods of time indoors, inactive and isolated from friends.

“Now as Covid-19 restrictions ease, we are delighted to pledge our support to the ‘Summer of Play’ campaign, which champions the importance of children having the time and safe space they need to reconnect and play with each other, and to enjoy a wide range of playful activities, so they can start to recover.

“With so many exciting events, programmes and initiatives happening across our borough, we hope our youngest residents will have the freedom to have endless fun with their friends!”

ABC Council is also encouraging local families to try ‘It’s Good to Chalk’ at home this summer. So, why not grab some chalk and bring all the colours of the rainbow to your own driveway – don’t worry it’ll wash off. 

As we would love to see your creations, please send any pictures of your chalk-filled fun to our Play Development Officer, Joan Noade on: joan.noade@armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk.

If you would like to find out more about the ‘Summer of Play’ campaign, get tips and advice on all things play, and more visit: https://www.summerofplay.co.uk/.

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