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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/.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

Stay Ahead of the Game with Council’s Coach and Club Development Programme

Pictured at the launch of council’s 2021-22 Coach Education and Club Development Programme, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr and Chair of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Sports Forum, Edith Jamison.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is offering local sports clubs and coaches a range of specialised training opportunities as part of its just launched 2021-22 Coach Education and Club Development Programme.

Delivered in partnership with Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) Sports Forum, the Programme will include a mixture of online and in-person workshops, covering topics such as safeguarding children and young people, designated officer, emergency first aid and mental health in sport.

Speaking at the launch, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr said: 

“I am pleased to officially launch our 2021-22 Coach Education and Club Development Programme. As a council, we recognise and value the important role local clubs and coaches play in guiding and inspiring lifelong participation and success in sport.

“Through this year’s Programme – which offers both online and face-to-face training opportunities – we are committed to supporting the development of clubs, coaches and volunteers at all levels to ensure the borough’s sporting community continue to excel.”

With workshops taking place from September 2021 to March 2022, the Programme also offers training opportunities around club development planning, income generation, attracting and retaining club members as well as provides participants with the chance to attend practical-based workshops such as creating great sports environments for children, and disability inclusion training.

Chair of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Sports Forum Edith Jamison said:

“With such a wide range of workshops on offer there is something relevant and innovative for our clubs, coaches and volunteers at all levels to support their ongoing development. I would encourage all clubs, coaches and volunteers throughout the Borough to get involved and benefit from the great programme on offer.”

Varying per workshop, costs are heavily subsidised and are payable upon registration.

Affiliated members of ABC Sports Forum can avail of these workshops free of charge and will receive separate booking instructions and voucher codes. To find out more about the content of each workshop or to book your place, visit here or download a copy of the brochure here.

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Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

All Stars Summer Scheme Brings Brighter Days for Local Children

An amazing 37 local young people delight in new found skills, confidence and friendships, thanks to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s popular, fun-filled All Stars Summer Scheme.

Based at Gilford Recreation Centre, the All Stars Summer Scheme brings young people with disabilities aged between seven and 17 together to enjoy a range of inclusive activities during a series of weeklong sessions in July and August.

Taking part in everything from nature walks, climbing wall activities, outdoor games, inclusive bike sessions to dance classes, boccia, kurling, arts and crafts and more, participants got the chance to build new skills, increase their confidence and activity levels as well as forge new, life-long friendships.

Joining in on the fun and visiting the All Stars Summer Scheme sessions, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Glenn Barr said:

“It’s been an absolute joy to meet this year’s All Stars Summer Scheme participants and hear all about the fun things they’ve been getting up to.

“For many disabled young people, the pandemic has had a huge impact on their everyday lives and normal social routines – negatively affecting their growth and development of important life skills. All Stars Summer Scheme is so critically important to these young people and their families as it not only helps provide opportunities to stimulate participants’ social and emotional development but also helps boost their confidence and independence.”

David Alderdice, Community Access Officer, Children with Disabilities Service from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said:

“The All Stars Summer Scheme has once again proven to be a fantastic opportunity for children and young people with a disability. A considerable amount of planning goes into ensuring the smooth running of the Scheme, by both council and trust, with council staff demonstrating diligence and enthusiasm throughout.”

Led by qualified instructors and coaches, all activities were adapted and tailored to maximise involvement of all participants, provide fun and excitement as well as exposure to new opportunities. With one parent saying the programme has improved their “daughters’ confidence and enabled them to try new activities” while another parent said the programme has supported their child “to socialise with other children again, helping them gain the independence to have fun away from family.”

David Alderdice continued:

“Together this collaborative approach has enabled children who avail of the scheme to achieve improved self-esteem; the development of friendships and social skills; the opportunity to try new activities; and of course have ‘fun’. This is a great example of two public bodies coming together and collaborating to deliver a quality service that addresses the needs of some of the most excluded children within society.”

Organised and delivered by ABC Council’s Sports Development Department, All Stars is supported by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.

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