Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Health and Recreation Department


14 Jun

Kids have a busy summer schedule ahead of them thanks to a host of physical activities taking place as part of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s getactiveabc kids Shake up Summer 19 Programme.

Boredom will be banished this summer break with a hosts of outdoor activities and summer schemes across the borough featuring Badminton, Climbing, £1 Swim, Parks Tennis, Swimming Lessons, Squash, Sport on the Green, Multi-sports in Banbridge, Dromore, Gilford, and Rathfriland, Summer Activity Camps in Portadown Peoples Park, Summer Scheme in Orchard Leisure Centre, Watersports Activity Days and much, much more!

To give you a taster of just some of our schemes, 8 – 14 year old’s can have a splashing time at Gilford Community Centre from Monday 1  to Friday 5 July with a fabulous Kayaking Camp from 7 – 8.30pm daily.

Keady, Richhill & Tandragee Recreation Centres will be hosting sensational Summer Schemes offering an abundance of activities for 4 – 12 year olds from Monday 1 July to Friday 23 August, 9am – 3pm daily.

Craigavon Leisure Centre’s Summer Scheme kicks off for kids aged 6 – 12 years on Monday 1 July until Friday 16 August with a packed programme of fitness and fun from 10am to 4pm each day.

For the full programme and further details about the wealth of physical activities on offer over the summer months or to book please visit

13 Jun

Little adventurers can get back to nature this August and enjoy some fun-filled outdoor activities at Portadown People’s Park ‘Park Explorer Club’!

The week long club, which will take place from Monday 19th August to Friday 23rd August from 10am-12noon, is the perfect opportunity for 6-11 year old’s to discover the natural wonders of the park through a range fun outdoor play activities, environmental arts and crafts and exciting games!

Activities will include pond dipping, bird watching, identifying butterflies, mini beasts search and scavenger hunts! It’s the perfect chance to enjoy the great outdoors, meet new friends and explore all elements of this fantastic green space!

Cost is just £15 per child for the week. Children should wear old clothing, some sturdy footwear and bring a snack and a drink. Places are limited so book your place early!

To register your child’s place click HERE or for further information call 028 3831 2597.

06 Jun

The spotlight is getting ready to shine on the borough’s young sporting champions as nominations are now being accepted for the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Junior Sports Awards 2019 which will take place on Friday 27th September in Craigavon Civic & Conference Centre.

Organised by Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Sports Forum in association with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, the awards recognise the wealth of young sporting talent in the borough and celebrate the achievements of those who have excelled in their chosen sport.

The awards were launched at McKeever Sports, Intersport in Rushmere Shopping Centre by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Mealla Campbell, along with Chairperson of the Forum, Edith Jamison, Headline Sponsor McKeever Sports representative Sarah Jane Owens, two of the Forum’s Ambassador Bursary recipients Jodie McKew and Emma Mitchell, and Denise Watson, compere for this year’s awards.

Speaking at the launch the Lord Mayor said, “I am delighted to launch the Junior Sports Awards to recognise and celebrate the successes this year of the young people of our Borough. It is also a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the dedication of coaches and volunteers for all of their hard work’.

Nominations are sought in the twelve categories of Junior Male, Junior Female, Junior School Team, Junior Club Team, Youth Male, Youth Female, Youth School Team, Youth Club Team, School Coach, Club Coach, Volunteer, Sports Person with a Learning Disability and Sports Person with a Physical or Sensory Disability. Details of the age range for each category is available on the nomination form.

Nomination forms are now available from all council leisure and community facilities across the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.

Completed forms must be returned to Anne Benson, Junior Sports Awards, Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island National Nature Reserve, Lurgan, BT66 6NJ or emailed to *protected email* before 12noon on Friday 21st June 2019.

For further information contact the Sports Development Department on 028 3752 9636 (Armagh), 028 4066 0605 (Banbridge) or 028 3831 1693 (Craigavon).

04 Jun

Some of The Archway Staff and families who came to Parkrun in Armagh on Saturday 1st June. It is one year on from when Parkrun and Royal College of GP’s teamed up to promote Parkrun. Archway are proud to be a Parkrun practice and to promote activity and lifestyle interventions as ways of improving our health.

Many of the health problems that we see day to day can be helped by exercise. Walking or running in the fresh air on a Saturday morning with a supportive community is a lovely way to get regular activity. Blood pressure, weight, joint pains, anxiety and mood problems are among many conditions that can often benefit significantly from exercise.

Did you know that research shows regular physical exercise can almost half your risk of developing dementia? There are some wonderful stories of how Parkrun has helped individuals with health problems here:

We suggest that you start gently if you haven’t taken much exercise for a while. Talk to your own GP or practice nurse if you have any questions. The NHS Couch to 5K podcast is a great way to get started:

Come along to Armagh Palace Demesne any Saturday at 9.30am and walk, jog or run.

31 May

Children under five must spend less time sitting watching screens, or restrained in prams and seats, get better quality sleep and have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy, according to guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Achieving health for all means doing what is best for health right from the beginning of people’s lives. Early childhood is a period of rapid development and a time when family lifestyle patterns can be adapted to boost health gains,” says WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebryesus.

The new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age were developed by a WHO panel of experts. They assessed the effects on young children of inadequate sleep, and time spent sitting watching screens or restrained in chairs and prams. They also reviewed evidence around the benefits of increased activity levels.

Failure to meet current physical activity recommendations is responsible for more than 5 million deaths globally each year across all age groups. Currently over 23% of adults and 80% of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active. If healthy physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep habits are established early in life, this helps shape habits through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.

“What we really need to do is bring back play for children. This is about making the shift from sedentary time to playtime, while protecting sleep,” says Dr Juana Willumsen, WHO focal point for childhood obesity and physical activity.

The pattern of overall 24 hour activity is key: replacing prolonged restrained or sedentary screen time with more active play, while making sure young children get enough good quality sleep. Quality sedentary time spent in interactive non screen based activities with a caregiver, such as reading, storytelling, singing and puzzles, is very important for child development.

Infants (less than 1 year) should:

  • Be physically active several times a day in a variety of ways, particularly through interactive floor based play; more is better. For those not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes in prone position (tummy time) spread throughout the day while awake.
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g. prams/strollers, high chairs). Screen time is not recommended. When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.
  • Have 14-17h (0-3 months of age) or 12-16h (4-11 months of age) of good quality sleep, including naps.

Children 1-2 years of age should:

  • Spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity, including moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, spread throughout the day, more is better.
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g. prams/strollers, high chairs) or sit for extended periods of time. For 1 years old, sedentary screen time is not recommended. For those aged 2 years, sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour, less is better. When sedentary, engaging in reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged.
  • Have 11-14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular sleep and wake up times.

Children 3-4 years of age should:

  • Spend at least 180 minutes in a variety of types of physical activities at any intensity, of which at least 60 minutes is moderate- to vigorous intensity physical activity, spread throughout the day, more is better.
  • Not be restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g. prams/strollers) or sit for extended periods of time. Sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour.
  • Have 10-13h of good quality sleep, which may include a nap, with regular sleep and wake up times.
29 May

A time capsule filled with exciting mementos from local school children has been buried in celebration of the iconic £35m South Lake Leisure Center build in Craigavon.

Pupils from neighboring primary schools (St Mary’s PS, St Theresa’s PS and Tannaghmore PS) placed dozens of fun, quirky and interesting items into a time-capsule buried by the former Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Julie Flaherty.

With a games console controller, mobile phone, fidget spinner and letter from the Lord Mayor all included, the 2019 time capsule will provide a fascinating snapshot of 21st century life in Craigavon when it is unearthed by future generations!

Farrans, one of the UK and Ireland’s leading construction firms, is spearheading the construction of the cutting-edge new £35 million leisure center in Craigavon on behalf of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

The innovative build is advancing fast and is on course for completion in 2020. Once complete, the new leisure center will be home to a world class 1,000m2 gym – understood to be the largest available anywhere on the island of Ireland – as well as an extensive indoor water provision, outdoor water-sports, traditional best-in-class fitness facilities and fluid open spaces including cafes and studios which have been designed to meet community and visitor needs.

Speaking at the event, former Lord Mayor Julie Flaherty commented: “This really is history in the making and I’m delighted our wonderful school children have been involved in filling this exciting time capsule. I can’t help but think forward in time to the lucky people who will eventually dig it up and get a glimpse of their community in 2019!”

She adds: “Once fully complete next year, this innovative new facility will be enjoyed by existing and future generations for decades to come. Recreation brings people together from all generations and walks of life and I am certain that once completed, this landmark health and leisure facility will serve a growing community that will be encouraged to improve their health and well being, to participate in an activity at whatever level they choose, and, above all, have fun!”

16 May

👼 ** MUM & ME – LOUGHGALL ** 👼

Buggy Fit Programme will take place at Loughgal Country Park & Golf Course
📅 Wed 22nd May @ 10.00am to 11.00am for 6 weeks

Costs £2 per session

🌳Walk in the Park
👟Exercises with Mums
🎼Songs and rhymes with Babies babies.

Anyone interested, can register by emailing Kirsty on


15 May

Children from local Primary Schools across Armagh took to the water on Friday 10 May at the Orchard Leisure Centre for the annual Apple Blossom Swimming Gala.

Competitors from Primary 6 & 7 took part in a range of different races including freestyle, breast stroke and back crawl in both individual and team events. The finale of the event was a 6 person team relay which was won by Christian Brothers Primary School.

Emma Crawford, Swimming Co-ordinator, Orchard Leisure Centre said “It is great to see the swimming pool utilised to its full potential; numbers attending the gala have increased steadily each year. Swimming is a lifelong skill and it is fantastic to see children of this age who are competent in the water”.

Family, friends and teachers gathered to show their support for the swimmers. The atmosphere was amazing as the crowd cheered each race right to the wall. Well done to all swimmers who took part.

A selection of kids who took part in Orchard Leisure Centre’s Apple Blossom Swimming Gala on Friday 10 May. Pictured alongside sponsors Sainsbury’s Armagh, Duty Manager Karen Cunningham and Swimming and Life Saving Coordinator Emma Crawford.


Pictured Shield Winner’s from Christian Brother’s Primary School Armagh at Orchard Leisure Centre’s Apple Blossom Swimming Gala on Friday 10th May alongside their teacher Mr Paul Doyle, Swimming and Life Saving Coordinator Emma Crawford and swimming teachers Laura Simpson, Mark King and James Nesbitt.

07 May

Did you know that without bees and other pollinating insects we wouldn’t have many of the fruit and vegetables we take for granted – we wouldn’t even have coffee or chocolate!  For more fascinating facts and hands-on experience of these amazing creatures do not miss out on the ever popular annual ‘Bee Curious’ event at Oxford Island!

Organised by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Bee Curious will take place on Saturday 18th May from 11am to 4pm.

This FREE family day out offers an exciting insight into the magical world of pollinating insects, including honey and bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths and celebrates the importance of these creatures to local food producers.

Local beekeepers will have a live demonstration hive where you can see bees working at first hand, learn all about bee keeping and check out the equipment used, how to make your garden friendly for these pollinators as well as having the opportunity to buy wax products including delicious honey and luxurious cosmetics!

For fascinating facts on our magical minibeasts visit Lough Neagh Discovery Centre and discover the important role these small creatures play in our lives and the contribution they make to the foods we eat.

As well as learning about buzzing bees and other pollinators, there will a range of workshops and demonstrations including flower arranging, photographing insects and butterflies, candle making, willow and straw craft and there will even be a workshop on beekeeping for young people!

Add in art and craft activities, face painting, lively music, the wonderful food served at the Loughside Café and the beautiful setting of Oxford Island and you have the perfect combination for a great day out for all the family.   Bee Curious is an event not to be missed!

Entry to the event and car-parking is free and a shuttlebus will operate on site to bring visitors from car parks a little further away.

For further information please contact the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre on 028 3832 2205, check out or visit our Facebook page at

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