Ireland’s first community activity zone opens in Mayo

Páirc Bheo, Ireland’s first community activity zone, will be officially opened on Friday May 6 in Erris, Co Mayo.

The project has been brought about because of the initiative and endeavour of teenage members of Erris No Name Club, who formed a partnership with Mayo County Council to plan and develop the community facility.

The project received funding from MFG Leader, the Corrib Gas Partners and the Bellacorick Enterprise Fund.

Páirc Bheo is an approximately €400,000 physical and mental health activity zone that will bring health benefits to young and old in the Mayo community for years to come. The activity zone has been developed at the side of Belmullet Civic Centre and will be officially opened at 2.30pm on Friday May 6 at an event that will be attended by local councillors, the project funders, community leaders, No Name Club representatives, and students and staff from Our Lady’s Secondary School and St Brendan’s Vocational School.

The teenage hosts and hostesses of Erris No Name Club identified the need for a health and fitness outlet within their community and partnered with Mayo County Council to plan the development. The first meeting between the local authority and the youth organisation took place in April 2010 and the first sod on the project was turned last October. The project came about after a No Name Club initiative on healthy eating and nutrition got the teenagers talking about health and fitness. Their discussions focused on the community only having activity facilities that were attached to sports clubs. In conjunction with their adult committee leaders, the idea for the community activity zone was developed.

The mental health and activity zone features an artificial grass facility that will be an interchangeable football pitch and basketball court, a tennis court, boccia court, and a teenage activity area to include table football, table tennis, a skate trainer, Dutch disc, and NEOS activity play structure. NEOS is an electronic game for kids, teenagers, and adults and tests their mind, balance, agility, and stamina. An outdoor gym, featuring bikes, steppers, an abdominal workout area, and stretching tower is also being provided along with a trim track, a mapped out track surrounding the facility that will allow locals run or walk in a safe environment.

The project is being funded through the Leader initiative (€150,000 ), the Corrib Natural Gas Erris Development Fund (€170,000 ), the National Lottery via the Department of Health (€40,000 ), Bellacorick Enterprise Fund (€33,000 ) and funding the No Name Club won through The Sun/SuperValu Spirit of the Community initiative (€2,000 ).

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