A BANGOR-based youth enterprise has been shortlisted for a major award for its dedication to promoting fitness to young people. 

Active Youth NI (AYNI), a local fitness initiative, has been shortlisted for the chance to win in the Best New Start Up category at the Northern Ireland Social Enterprise Awards which recognise the hard work of local businesses and their contributions to the local economy.

The pro-fitness group was founded by Joni Rock and Lisa Tomalin earlier this year.  The Bangor mothers have over 40 years of experience between them in the health and fitness industry.

They use their knowledge to aid children and young people from deprived or rural areas as well as those with disabilities, introducing them all into the world of health and fitness, working with schools and community groups. 

In the past year, they have reached over 1,800 young people. Co-founder Joni Rock said the Province suffers from the lowest participation rates in sport in Europe, something which she and Lisa aim to change. 

“Physical inactivity has proven links to obesity, lower life expectancy and poor physical and mental health outcomes, creating a huge burden on society,2 said Joni.

“Northern Ireland has the lowest participation in sport and physical activity across Europe, and we want to change that. Change starts at grass roots level. 

“The recently launched Children’s Sport Participation and Physical Activity Study 2022 has shown good progress in the last five years in Northern Ireland, but more work is needed. That’s where AYNI comes in.” 

This year’s awards will be held in Belfast, on October 27 at the Crowne Plaza.