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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Quiet Hour sessions in Antrim and Newtownabbey Leisure Centres


Antrim and Newtownabbey Leisure Centres will now be a little more peaceful for a ‘quiet hour’ each week.

From 7th October the Council is introducing one-hour quiet sessions designed to provide a calmer environment for children and young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and sensory needs.

Sessions are now available in three of the Council’s leisure centres, and activities include swimming and soft play. This new Council initiative is the latest programme providing tailored adjustments to facilities and services to support children and young people with autism and sensory needs.

Last week, the Mayor officially launched Antrim Sensory Garden and during the summer, the Council successfully ran several fun messy play sessions with the support of Sensory Kids NI.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross said:

“Ordinarily, I don’t like it when our leisure centres are quiet, but I’m delighted to launch the ‘quiet hour’ programme for young people and children with ASD and sensory diagnoses. They will get to experience swimming and soft play in an environment where they can feel at ease.

"Physical activity should be available to everyone and by offering these services and our sensory gardens in Antrim and Hazelbank - we’re aiming to adapt our services to be more inclusive for everyone in our society.”

The Deputy Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Leah Smyth added:

“I’m so thrilled that we are offering leisure services for children with additional needs. As a mummy of a child with additional needs and a parent governor at Riverside School, I know the quiet sessions will help them feel relaxed in a safe environment, where they can look forward to coming into our leisure centres every week and enjoy playing and having fun through exercise.”

One-hour swimming slots will take place weekly:

• Friday, 4pm – 5pm at the Valley Leisure Centre

• Saturday, 8am – 9am at Sixmile Leisure Centre

• Sunday, 8am – 9am at Antrim Forum

One-hour soft play will take place weekly:

• Monday, 4pm – 5pm at Antrim Forum

• Wednesday, 4pm – 5pm at the Valley Leisure Centre

‘Quiet hour’ sessions are scheduled at times when there is less footfall and less noise in the leisure centres. There will be no music playing, or operational PA announcements to maintain a quiet space. Sensory-friendly toys will be available.


Further information about the quiet sessions is available from:


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