Taking fitness to ‘marginalised groups’ in Limavady

The Roe Valley Active Communities Programme is actively targeting marginalised groups in an attempt to broaden access to an already impressive fitness base in the borough.

In partnership with the Sport Northern Ireland lottery funded Active Communities programme, local Active Communities coach Nicola Taylor has introduced various fitness initiatives to increase activity levels for those targeted as “under-represented”.

The drive aims to increase participation in sport and physical recreation, with a particular emphasis on women and girls, those with disabilities and older people.

The project is part of a wider cluster scheme. It is co-ordinated and managed by Limavady Borough Council, but also covers the Coleraine, Ballymoney and Moyle Council areas.

The result is an impressive looking timetable of activities.

“One week it could be a low impact circuit style class, with a relaxed stretch theme the following week. We also have a crafts element to the programme.

“Last week we had scented balls and introduced tai chi moves, it all went down a real treat. As well as the obvious health benefits, it opens a window for older people to get out and socialise. We provide refreshments afterwards and the feedback has been great,” she said.

People with varying disabilities are also catered for in Limavady, when it comes to improving health, fitness and wellbeing.

Two exercise classes at the Benbradagh Resource Centre run during the week, under coach Nicola.

Variety again is the key, but everyone just loves to dance at the Benbradagh Resource Centre, says care assistant Stephanie McKeegan.

She said:“The group took part in a dance programme and delivered a show last Christmas. But there is a bit of everything in the timetabled classes and it keeps everyone interested. This week it was indoor bowls.”

One of the stars in the bowls competition was Leo O’Connor, who put his pin-point accuracy down to plenty of practice.

“We go ten pin bowling a lot, and that helps,” he said.

Yoga, zumba and a variety of events included in an annual sports day are just some of the activities on offer. Bronagh Devlin, who never misses a class said, “The dancing is a lot of fun. It is really good for exercise and that’s the main thing… and of course getting together with friends is important.”

Schoolchildren are also benefiting from the Active Communities programme, thanks to a dance style class designed for primary five and six pupils at Drumachose Primary School on a Wednesday.

Nicola said: “I also run a similar programme for St Anthony’s Primary in Bellarena, which takes in the whole school on a Thursday. Zumbatonic is popular with the kids, but they also love a bit of hip hop.

“I need to say a big thank you to ‘Be Safe Be Well’ based in Limavady, who also target these marginalised groups. Without their help, I simply wouldn’t be able to take this level of outreach work.”