Monday, 25 February 2013

Positive Play at Legg Park

Since September last year PlayBoard have been delivering a programme of outdoor play activities at Legg Park in Carrickfergus and two other parks in Antrim and Newtownabbey Council areas.

The programme has been funded by the CAN PEACE III Partnership. The CAN PEACE III Partnership is funded by the European Programme for Peace and Reconciliation which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. The Partnership is made up of representatives from across the three council areas and is working to build positive relations and develop a confident and peaceful future for all.

Despite the wintry weather conditions over the past few months, PlayBoard’s Play Development Officers have been supporting children to become involved in a wide range of outdoor play activities within the parks. Activities have included den making, outdoor arts and crafts, traditional outdoor games and even cooking marshmallows around a fire pit!

The programme, which will run in each of the parks until the end of the summer has proven to be a big hit with children, parents and carers alike.

Speaking about the programme Alan Herron, PlayBoard’s Director of Service Delivery and Development said ““PlayBoard are delighted to be working in partnership with the CAN PEACE III Partnership and the three councils, delivering a programme supporting children’s play which is in line with the NI Executive’s Play and Leisure Policy and the PEACE III objectives”.

Alan continued “The Positive Play Programme is helping to make the parks more open and accessible for local people; with children, young people and their parents all reporting that they feel more comfortable playing in the parks, even during the winter months”.

Eamonn Keenan, a member of the Play Development team helping to deliver the programme explained, “At the outset many parents reported fears at allowing their children to play outdoors in the parks because of the dark nights. These fears have been addressed by the PlayBoard team’s presence in the parks, and thanks to the project over 320 children have been able to benefit to date from the outdoor play sessions.”

Early evaluations of the programme have indicated that it has really made an impact, with one parent saying “The PlayBoard programme is providing children and young people with a great opportunity to play outdoors in the parks - especially during the winter months when the cold, dark nights tend to keep them indoors”. Another said “The children can’t wait to come along to the PlayBoard play sessions – even the cold, dark and wet nights don’t deter them!.”

Congratulating PlayBoard on the success of the initiative, Councillor Noreen McClelland, Chair of the CAN PEACE III Partnership said “We on the PEACE III Partnership are delighted with the results from this programme. Parks and green spaces should be places for all of our community to enjoy all year round. This programme encourages families to come out to play in and enjoy their local parks”

For further details on when the play programmes are running in each of the 3 parks, please contact PlayBoard on 028 9080 3380 or visit the PlayBoard NI Facebook page.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Get Fit for Free in the Fresh Air of Bashfordsland Wood

LtoR: Lee Gorman, Jamie-Lee Mogey, & Stacy Keatley

Carrickfergus Borough Council has unveiled a new outdoor gym in partnership with The Woodland Trust and generous funding from BIFFA Award. The twelve-piece gym provides a great work-out in the beautiful surroundings of Bashfordsland Wood. The gym is completely free to use and is suitable for all, from experienced gym goers to beginners and offers any user of the park an opportunity to increase their physical activity. Designed to give a mix of cardiovascular, strength and toning exercises, each piece of equipment has clear guidelines for proper use and information on which part of the body it is benefitting.  

Alderman May Beattie, Chairperson of the Parks Sub-Committee said: “The Council is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents. This outdoor gym shows how we continue to maximise the services available in our parks. The installation has been specially configured to allow users to get the maximum benefit of the equipment in the shortest time. By concentrating the equipment together, we have made things easier for people in the park who want a quick exercise routine during their lunchtime or after a walk. Physical activity produces real benefits for people and is important for all ages and abilities. It can help you keep a healthy weight and help improve your mood, reduce anxiety and protect against depression. Other outdoor gyms in the Carrickfergus Borough area are located at Diamond Jubilee Wood and Blackhead Path in Whitehead. These gyms provide a fantastic opportunity to get fit on your doorstep and I would encourage people to try them out.”

The BIFFA Award is a multi-million pound environmental fund, which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.

Link: Bashfordsland Wood

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Planting the Hedgerow - Free Fun Day Out

Come along to this free event and find out what wildlife our native hedges support and why they are one of nature’s greatest assets.

EVENT DETAILS: Saturday 23rd February 2013 from 10am to 1pm at Diamond Jubilee Wood, Whitehead.

You can access Whitehead Diamond Jubilee Wood via the pedestrian entrance at Bentra Golf Course car park. This free fun day out is for all the family. Please bring suitable outdoor clothing and footwear! Wellies are recommended for this site.

Species-rich hedgerows are important to us as well as to our wildlife. They are of historical importance often marking townland or estate boundaries. They also provide colour, shelter and food; act as stock barriers; and prevent soil erosion. Unfortunately, many of our native hedgerows have lost a lot of these values due to neglect or mismanagement. So, we’ve teamed up with Antrim, Belfast and Newtownabbey councils to restore and enhance the hedgerows in these areas.

You can play your part too. We want people to get involved to help restore and manage the habitats. We’ll provide you with training to help you develop skills required to support the restoration programme. Over the next two years we will be running foraging events and training workshops in autumn and winter. To get involved come along to this event or use the contact information below.

Hedgerow Hopes Initiative is a Heritage Lottery funded project.