Health Minister Edwin Poots and Olympian Dame Mary Peters have jointly opened a new community gym in Lisburn established to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.
Lagan View Community Gym in Old Warren is jointly funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Resurgam Community Development Trust.
The gym will offer the people in the area an opportunity to try a wide range of activities such as cycling, rowing and weight training.
The community gym is one of the key elements in a new healthy living initiative for people within the Lisburn area, which will be led by Resurgam, to improve the health and wellbeing of the whole community and reduce health inequalities where these exist.
Mr Poots said: “It is crucial that the population of Northern Ireland is provided with opportunities to participate in physical activity as this will not only help them maintain a healthy weight, but it will also help them improve their physical and mental health in general.
“Physical activity can take many forms such as play, recreation, leisure, sports and team events. It benefits the development of physical, social and emotional skills, and can also improve self-esteem, relationships and help increase confidence and resilience.
“Schemes like this gym, that provide facilities and equipment directly in local communities, support everyone to adopt simple lifestyle changes, such as being more active, which will help reduce the likelihood of developing conditions that have a long-term impact on our health and wellbeing.”
Resurgam Community Development Trust Chairman, Philip Dean, said: “The gym forms part of an innovative programme to respond to a number of issues identified in the ‘The Best for Every Child’ research report studying deprived areas of Lisburn and published in 2012.
“These pointed to the need to tackle long-term poor health and quality of life across the population as a whole.
“The development of the community gym, which will be a part of this initiative, will offer a number of exercise stations which will provide a mix of cardiovascular, strength and toning workouts.”
Chief Executive of the PHA Dr Eddie Rooney added: “Together with the Resurgam Trust, over the past year we have developed a major work programme to address needs in this area.
“This new initiative represents a milestone in collaborative working to improve the health and wellbeing of the whole community.”