It is very important to us that all of our residents can enjoy our facilities and services. To help make this happen we are continually making improvements to our facilities and events to support those with additional needs. Current initiatives which we have been focusing on include becoming an ‘Autism Friendly’ Council, the rolling out of JAM (Just a Minute) Cards
at our facilities and the provision of Changing Places in two of our largest leisure centres.
All of our Council facilities are inclusive for both disabled adults and children. Disability Sport Hubs were launched at the Valley Leisure Centre, Allen Park and Crumlin Leisure Centre in March this year. The Hubs have disability sports equipment 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. These are run in partnership with Disability Sport NI and have proven very popular with our disabled residents. We have ongoing upgrades to our facilities to further improve our accessibility such as Changing Facilities and Inclusive Signage.
We offer many sports and programmes to both adults and children with a disability. The Council has 10 Every Body Active Coaches who have various target groups with ‘People with a Disability’ being one of them. The coaches schedule work with disabled groups with sport specific sessions such as rugby, netball, athletics, hockey, gymnastics, football, fundamental games and exercise classes.
The gyms and swimming pools in each of our leisure centres are accessible for everyone. Each of our leisure centres have a wheelchair accessible lift and the leisure centres which have a swimming pool also have a hoist to help those with a disability in and out of the pool. We are currently working with DSNI to implement ‘Pool Pods’ in two of our leisure centres which will allow a more dignified and independent entry to the swimming pools than the hoists. Each of our fitness suites also have pieces of equipment which can be adapted for wheelchair users. As part of the gym equipment replacement programme we aim to provide a high percentage of IFI accredited gym equipment.
Leisure Centre Membership
We have leisure membership concessionary rate for those with a disability. If the disabled person requires a carer to help them, the carer can accompany them free of charge. For more details on our memberships including concession criteria visit our MORE membership page
The Valley Leisure Centre run a class called 'Little Stars' for children age 5-10 with learning disabilities. The class runs at different times depending on the level of learning disability and is suitable for beginners right up to those who can swim and are water confident.
'Sharks' swimming lessons are held in Sixmile Leisure Centre are open to adults and children with disabilities.
Our adult swimming classes are open to all abilities and if required one-to-one coaching is available.
For details on these swimming classes please contact the leisure centres T. 028 9448 1499.
We offer inclusive Summer Scheme programmes where children with all abilities can enjoy sports and leisure activities together. We assess children with disabilities and/or medical conditions to ensure the required individual needs of the children are catered for prior to their arrival at our Summer Schemes. To further promote the participation of children with disabilities in Summer Schemes, we have provided access to funding of up to £5000 for each Special Needs School in the Borough for the Summer Schemes available at their school. This works well for children who have specific needs such as Autism were they strive for familiarity and for those with more severe physical needs who may require specialist equipment.
Activities for deaf, blind/partially sighted
Our activities are inclusive for all. We have recently installed new signage with braille and have loop systems in all of our facilities.
We run a golf programme at Allen Park for those who are visually impaired and have previously held spin classes for the same group which have proven to be very popular. Our Boccia club is also available to anyone who is visually impaired. We have plans to run a football programme for some of the local schools who have pupils with visual impairments.
'Wheelie Active’ is suitable for children aged 4-14 years. In the class the children learn the fundamentals of exercise and sport such as moving around in the chair, throwing catching etc.
We also run Wheelchair hurling and netball programmes which target older children in a more sport specific session. One of our Everybody Active coaches recently completed her level 1 in Wheelchair basketball and has started to schedule in wheelchair basketball sessions.
Inclusive play park equipment is available at 32 of our Council Play Parks. Our flagship play park at V36, Newtownabbey features a Wheelchair Accessible Swing, Wheelchair Roundabout and Sensory Play elements whilst our other flagship play park at Antrim Loughshore Park features a Wheelchair Accessible Boat, Wheelchair Accessible Swing and Roundabout.
t is very important to us that all our residents can enjoy our facilities and services, particularly those with specific needs. We have made a number of adjustments to our three theatres across the Borough, Theatre at The Mill, The Old Courthouse and The Courtyard Theatre. Click here for details.
We are always looking to improve our facilities and make them more accessible for all. For more details on any of the above or if you have any suggestions on how we can do this, please contact Ellen Boyd, Customer Accessibility Officer T. 028 9446 3113 ext 31020 or E. [email protected]