Major funding boost for leisure facilities

Sixmile Leisure Centre.
Sixmile Leisure Centre.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has approved an investment of over £850,000 for two local play areas.

The funding will see works conducted at Lilian Bland Community Park and Rathcoole Play Park.

Lilian Bland Community Park is located next to the recently refurbished Lilian Bland Pavilion in Glengormley. The investment of over £450,000 will see some of the play equipment moved and the addition of a new aeroplane themed attraction, wheelchair swing and accessible play equipment. The project also features a new basketball area and the relocation of the existing MUGA to the current tennis courts.

The park is named after Lilian Bland who was the first woman to build and fly a plane in the UK and Ireland in 1910. Lilian lived nearby and tested her plane on Carnmoney Hill. The park features an aeroplane sculpture. As part of the refurbishment, the plane will be relocated and new airport runway landscaping, to highlight the sculpture.

The play park in Rathcoole will be extended and play equipment installed including wheelchair swing and accessible play equipment. This is an exciting new £400,000 project, which will see new safety surfacing, fencing and street furniture installed, making this an inclusive fun place for children of all ages.

Both projects will begin in March and completed (weather permitting) by the summer.

Meanwhile, the reception areas at Antrim Forum, Sixmile Leisure Centre and the Valley will also be undergoing a face-lift costing in the region of £400,000. This includes the installation of new self-service kiosks and other technologies which will improve the customer journey, offering fast access and reducing queuing times.

There are also plans to refurbish and extend the fitness suite at Sixmile Leisure Centre. The £525,000 investment will significantly increase the current floor space, provide new state of the art fitness equipment, and includes replacement of air conditioning and ventilation. Work is due to commence in spring and be completed in early summer. Provision of the fitness suite will be relocated to the main hall in the leisure centre while works take place.