The Antrim and Newtown Abbey Consortium was the first of 11 groups to begin delivering Sport Northern Ireland’s Active Communities Programme, aimed at getting more people involved in physical activity. The project particularly targeted women, the elderly and disabled people.
Five of the coaches responsible for delivering the programme were drawn from the governing bodies in athletics, rugby, cricket, hockey and gaelic games, with a further five delivering physical activity as opposed to specific sports. The coaches were provided to groups free of charge and were tasked with strengthening links between schools, community groups, local sports clubs and local authorities.
National Lottery funding paid the salaries of the ten coaches that deliver the scheme. It also provided sports and IT equipment, travel costs, a professional development facility and also covered management costs. There is a heavy emphasis on providing additional opportunities for people taking part to develop their skills and go on to the next level. One member of the Fit and Active Over 50s Activity Scheme, which runs as part of the project, says getting involved has changed her life for the better: “I never used to get out of the house, now I’m up and about in the morning and meeting new friends while I get fit.”
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