Saddle up to improve health and help save our planet  

April 07, 2022

In the midst of a pandemic, a polluted planet and increasing diseases like cancer, asthma and heart disease, the World Health Organisation will be focusing global attention on the urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy as part of World Health Day, which is celebrated annually on 7 April.

Active travel is one such way which can bring huge benefits to our communities, health and environment. Active travel simply means making journeys in physically active ways – like walking, wheeling, cycling, or scooting. The aim is to make active travel the natural choice for short journeys.

Schools are one key setting that can help promote active travel and once such school in our Borough having embraced the challenge. To encourage active travel both to and from school, and also to South Lake Leisure Centre for their swimming lessons, St Anthony’s Primary School in Craigavon engaged in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s Community Sports Leader Programme.

Four members of St Anthony’s staff recently completed the Cycle Ireland’s Ride Leader coaching course and have used the qualification to start a cycle club which will help encourage and give the pupil’s confidence on their bikes.

The community-based programme, which was supported by the Peace IV and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and the Public Health Agency, provided training and coaching qualifications to local individuals to enable them to deliver quality sport and physical activity experiences within their local communities.

The council’s flagship leisure facility South Lake Leisure Centre, located in the heart of Craigavon, is responsible for delivering the Community Active Travel Programme encouraging residents and community groups across the borough to cycle more as part of everyday life.

The cycle pod site at South Lake Watersports Centre offers an array of bicycles, including unisex bikes, bikes for young children, balance bikes and two children’s trailers, enabling the whole family to exercise together.

The centre also offers an Inclusive Cycle Scheme providing a range of accessible bikes, including trikes, hand cycles, tandems (inline and side-by-side) and a wheelchair transporter.

Any of the bikes can be hired by contacting South Lake Leisure Centre on 0330 056 4411

Further information the council’s cycling provision can be found here

We can all play our part in helping to protect ‘our planet and our health’ this World Health Day.

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