Physical Education at The High School is about to reach a whole new level as it launches the first outdoor gym in a post-primary school in Northern Ireland. Commissioned by the South Eastern Education and Library Board (SEELB), The High School will be the first of five post-primary schools to launch the new facility, in a total investment by the SEELB worth over £200,000.
The initiative has been welcomed by ex-Ireland and Ulster Rugby player Andy Ward, who also runs a successful gym in Ballynahinch. He was on-hand to support the new facility. He said: “I am thrilled to be involved in today’s launch and feel certain that this will set the trend throughout the rest of the country.
“The health benefits of exercise and the great outdoors are undisputed and this gives the pupils of The High School Ballyhaninch the opportunity to learn about physical education in new surroundings whilst allowing them to increase their fitness levels.”
Installed by Garden Escapes, in partnership with the Great Outdoor Gym Company, Ireland, these will be the largest outdoor gyms in the country, offering pupils of all physical abilities the opportunity to further learn and practice PE outdoors, before, during and after school. The 22-piece gym located on-site provides a great work-out, surrounded by fresh air and doesn’t cost a penny to use.
Speaking at the launch of The High School Ballynahinch’s outdoor gym facility, Mr Roger Sayers, Head of Property and Planning Services at the SEELB, said: “It is a particularly special occasion to be formally opening the first outdoor gym of this size in Northern Ireland and the Board is delighted with the positive feedback we have already had with this project.
“We are committed to raising the standards of learning and levels of achievement of the young people in our area and what we have here is an innovative and fun way in which pupils of all ages can benefit from a wide range of physical activities.”
Richard Stuart, Managing Director of TGO Ireland said: “We are delighted to be launching the new facility in my home town of Ballyhnahinch today. “Never before has there been such a focus on health and well-being with the interest in outdoor exercise being at an all-time high – especially in children and young adults.
“Physical inactivity causes more deaths than obesity – only smoking, high blood pressure and high blood glucose are responsible for greater mortality. “The recent study by medical journal The Lancet claimed that sedentary lifestyles and a lack of physical exercise are responsible for 5.3 million deaths – just as many as smoking – throughout the world.
“It is well documented that the problem starts in childhood, when habits are laid down that become life-long.”
Richard added: “The South Eastern Education and Library Board is to be commended for tackling this problem head on, and we look forward to working with the children to educate them on how to use the machines on a regular basis and integrate physical activity into their school day.”
Priory Integrated College, Glastry College, Newtownbreda High School and Laurelhill Community College will also receive an outdoor gym in the coming months as part of the SEELB’s continuing investment.
If you are interested in installing an outdoor gym in a school or a green space near you, please contact: Richard at Garden Escapes, 028 97564477 or visit www.tgoireland.com <http://www.tgoireland.com> .
You can also keep up to date on facebook.com/TGO.ireland and Tweet @TGOireland’