Representatives from towns and cities throughout Europe met in Craigavon this week to share ideas on how to encourage active lifestyles in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough.
The visitors from Italy, Germany, Slovenia and Bulgaria were here as part of HEPNESS, a European group made up of cities, sporting organisations and research groups, that aims to create healthy, active cities to improve wellbeing.
One of the goals of the group is to increase physical activity in urban spaces through resources including parks, squares, green commons, streets, rivers, lakes and cultural venues. Working closely with sport, environmental associations, tourism, health and educational organisations as well as private partnerships, the council is developing pilot actions and a framework for monitoring user activity sessions to measure local participation levels in a range of settings. It is hoped that this data will help the council understand how this borough’s activity levels compare to other European cities, which will help direct funding to the areas where it is most needed.
Councillor Declan McAlinden, Chair of the Leisure and Community Services Committee welcomed the visitors; “We are delighted to welcome this European delegation to the area and showcase the wide range of sports projects and activities we have in the borough. It is great to see that we can share learning opportunities with our friends in much bigger cities in Europe.”
Donata Gaspari from the municipality of Vicenza, Italy (European City of Sport 2017) said; “it was inspiring to see a range of activities in practice during this visit. We saw a coaching session from the ‘Everybody Active 2020’ programme and heard about the great work being done through the new Macmillan ‘Move More’ programme. It is shocking to hear that 77% of people living with cancer are not active enough, since physical activity is known to improve recovery rates. ABC is managing to cater for a diverse range of users, successfully bringing physical activity into traditionally less active groups. We hope to take some of this learning back to Italy with us and would like to implement the ‘Girls Active’ project in our city.”