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Disability Sports Hubs Launched for Antrim and Newtownabbey!

13 March 2018

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council secured funding from Disability Sport Northern Ireland for a Disability Sports Hub in the Borough. A hub has been established at Antrim Forum with two satellite hubs at Allen Park and the Valley Leisure Centre. Officially opening the Sports Hub, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill welcomed a group of adults and children from local groups and schools including Antrim BASE Day Centre, Rosstulla School, St Comgall’s Primary School and Antrim Primary School to Antrim Forum. The investment by Disability Sport Northern Ireland has provided exciting new sports equipment which is now available for individuals and groups to use. Each of the groups took part in a range of physical activities using the equipment, helping raise awareness of the disability sports hubs. Local sporting champion, Michael McKillop attended as a special guest at the event, highlighted his experience as a successful Paralympic athlete.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill commented; “The aim of this launch is to spread awareness throughout the Borough to all disability groups and show what the Council can offer to people with a disability. Disabled people are currently half as likely to participate in sport as non-disabled people and this initiative will make a huge difference in helping us get more people with a disability, active in Antrim and Newtownabbey. The Hub will also help to fit into the Council’s leisure strategy as we hope to get these disabled groups using the leisure centres and exercising regularly.”

Kevin O’Neill, Disability Sport NI’s Chief Executive said, “The establishment of a Disability Sports Hub in all eleven of our District Council areas is a real game changer for people with disabilities here. Disabled people are currently half as likely to participate in sport as non-disabled people and this initiative will make a huge difference in helping us get more people with disabilities active in every area of Northern Ireland.’

Sport Northern Ireland Chair George Lucas added, “Sport Northern Ireland warmly welcomes the launch of the new District Council Disability Sports Hubs. These hubs will help support local people with disabilities to enjoy all the physical, mental and social benefits of participation in sport and physical activity. We look forward to continuing to work with Disability Sport NI, the Department for Communities and our other partners, to implement the Active Living: No Limits Action Plan and deliver positive change to the social, recreational and sporting lives of people with disabilities across Northern Ireland.”
 
Explaining more about the Disability Sports Hub, Sport and Play Development Officer, David McKee said; Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has received a disability sports equipment pack including twelve sports wheelchairs, one rugby wheelchair, three track racers, five hand cycles, four tandems, three trikes, three boccia sets and one sensory activity pack.  As much as the equipment is for people with a disability, it is also for the non-disabled people in our Borough, to help spread awareness throughout schools and clubs.”

The Disability Sports Hub Project in Northern Ireland was funded by the Department of Communities through Sport NI. This £500,000 project is part of the Active Living: No Limits 2021 Action Plan to improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities in Northern Ireland through participation in sport and active recreation. For more information on the project, contact David McKee T. 028 9446 3113 or E. [email protected]