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Ballynahinch firm is ‘fit’ for business securing £500K deal to roll-out six outdoor gyms

Outdoor fitness is set to take on a whole new meaning at six post-primary schools across Northern Ireland, with the launch of new state-of-the-art… outdoor gym facilities.

The platinum sized outdoor gyms are part of a new £300,000 contract commissioned by the South Eastern Education and Library Board which will be rolled out to Down High School, Saintfield High School, Regent House, Glenlola Collegiate, Lisnagarvey High School and Fort Hill College in the coming months.

This follows an initial £200,000 contract secured in December 2012 for outdoor gyms within five secondary schools, High School Ballynahinch, Priory Integrated College, Glastry College, Newtownbreda High School and Laurelhill Community College.

Installed by Ballynahinch-based company Garden Escapes, in partnership with the Great Outdoor Gym Company, Ireland, the gyms are the first to be located in schools and 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.

Mr Roger Sayers, Head of Property and Planning Services at the SEELB, said “We are delighted to be able to enable a further six schools to reap the benefits of an outdoor gym facility – we have had nothing but positive feedback from each of the schools so far.

“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 Garden Escapes and TGO Ireland said: “We are thrilled with today’s announcement.

“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 concluded, “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 in each of the schools alongside local sporting personalities to help show them how to use the machines on a regular basis and integrate physical activity into their school day.”

All of the gym facilities are located conveniently within the school’s grounds and provide a great workout, surrounded by fresh air and doesn’t cost a penny to use.

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 . You can also keep up to date on and Tweet @TGOireland’

Picture caption: Ex Ireland and Ulster rugby player Andy Ward puts Ballynahinch High School pupils Megan Tate and Hannah-Jane Hitchins through their paces at the new outdoor gym which opened in December 2012. Picture by Brian Morrison.

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