Michelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)
ANBC | Funding boost to step up mental health fitness
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is to step up its fitness provision in a bid to boost mental health.
The local authority has received almost £4,000 from the Northern Health Lifestyles Partnership to deliver an ‘Exercise for Mental Health Programme’, a report to the council’s Operations Committee has stated.
Councillors have been told that this funding will be used for training costs and programme delivery in the borough’s leisure centres. Once training is complete, weekly classes will commence catering for those with “mild to moderate” mental health issues and a referral based programme will be available for those with severe mental health issues.
In addition, funding of £5,000 has been secured from Sport NI for teen fitness. which will also be used for training costs and delivery in local leisure centres.
Once training is complete, it is anticipated that staff will facilitate supervised fitness sessions in the gym.
In 2018, councillors approved the reduction of the minimum age for entry to its leisure centre fitness suites from 16 years to 13 years, if accompanied by a parent.
Councillors were reminded that this decision was made following feedback from customers and also to “contribute to addressing the gap in physical activity provision for children aged 13-15 years”.
During the pandemic, ‘Positive Mental Health Boxes’ filled with sweets, mindfulness activities and stress balls were delivered to some of the most vulnerable young people aged between 14 and 25 across the borough.
Meanwhile, councillors have been told that following a review, prices for leisure services remain unchanged for 2022/2023.
The council received 13 applications from sports clubs and athletes in the borough to the Leisure Grant Aid Programme between October and December amounting to almost £107k.