Active scheme to be extended

The Braid. BT8-268AC
The Braid. BT8-268AC

A highly successful programme aimed particularly at getting women, disabled persons and older people more active could be extended.

Last week, Ballymena Councillors agreed at committee level to accept a funding offer of £199,819 from Sport Northern Ireland to deliver a 12-month extension of the popular ‘Active Communities’ programme from April 1, 2015, to March 31, next year.

It has been running in Ballymena, Larne and Carrick since 2011 with Ballymena as lead authority and has received 100% funding each year from Sport NI to employ a team of sports coaches and physical activity leaders to deliver a range of programmes to specific ‘harder to reach’ target groups, including the elderly and those with disabilities.

Last Monday night’s Council Community Planning & Wellbeing Committee heard that since 2011 almost 15,000 participants have been involved in the programme which had been due to finish at the end of this March.

The 12-month extension will allow consultation to take place on the long-term future of the programme which currently involves the employment of seven full-time coaches by Ballymena Borough Council who work across all three council areas to deliver it.

Responding to a query from Alderman PJ McAvoy, Council Officer Bernie Candlish told the Committee that Active Communities is 100% funded by Sport NI and that there is, therefore, “no financial impact on Council’s budget”.

Members went on to accept Sport NI’s funding offer to extend the programme on the proposal of Alderman Maurice Mills, seconded by Councillor John Carson.