Leaders in Outdoor Experiential Learning


Access-Ability Project

Access-Ability delivers an equality of opportunity for young people by demonstrating that physical and learning disabilities should not be perceived as barriers to participation through a broad range of outdoor experiential learning activities. The Project is sponsored by the Big Lottery, Reaching Communities Fund until 2015.



Big Lottery Fund LogoThe programme, which has been running since 1997 engages young people with a broad range of disabilities in long and short-term personal development programmes. It empowers young people to reach their full potential through acquisition of new skills, developing new friendships, and having a lot of fun!

Access-Ability engages young people with a broad range of physical, sensory and learning disabilities. Our short and longer-term programmes offer challenging but achieveable activities that focus on personal and social development primarily through the medium of outdoor experiential learning. By setting achievable Goals Access-Ability strives to:

  • Promote access of opportunity for young disabled people.
  • Empower young people to reach their full potential through learning new skills and developing new friendships within an exciting but safe and fun environment.
  • Improve the health and general well being for participating young people.
  • Highlight and address the barriers faced and imposed by society and community towards disability.
  • Deliver accredited and non-accredited programmes and awards.
  • Offer and develop volunteering and mentoring opportunities.


Accredited Courses include:

  • Duke of Edinburgh's Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold)
  • Rescue and Emergency Care (REC) First Aid
  • Awards Scheme Development and Accrediation Network (ASDAN)
  • The John Muir Award (Environmental)
  • National Indoor Climbing Achievement Scheme (NICAS)
  • National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS)
  • Open College Network (OCN) courses
  • Paddle Sports Star Awards


Programmes of activity include:

  • Weekend Club
  • Summer Scheme
  • Outward Bound Week
  • Multi activity programmes linking in with the school curriculum





If you are looking to try something new, get out and be active or just have fun, then why not book yourself onto one of the following activities. The cost for each of the sessions is £10 per head.

26th November Leave No Trace Sessions 10.00am - 1.00pm

2th January(Tbc) Healthy Living Workshop TBC

25th February Campcraft & Cookery 10.00am - 1.00pm

25th March Mountain Biking Casteward 10.00am - 2.00pm

28th April Mountain Day Walk 9.30am - 4.00pm

19th May Sailing Session 10.00am - 2.00pm

24th June Low/High Ropes Course 1.30pm - 4.30pm



I am looking to recruit approximately 20 young people (over 12 years old and under 25) who would like to participate in a project between Belfast Activity Centre and Streetwise Community Circus.

We are offering you the opportunity to take part in 20 circus workshops finishing off with a showcase performance (venue and date to be decided).  The workshops will be taking place at Laganview Enterprise Centre, Lisburn (due to space) on Wednesday evenings from 6pm – 7.30pm.  The workshops will be completely free

The dates are:

12th, 19th and 26th October

9th, 16th and 23rd November

8th, 15th and 22nd February

7th, 14th and 21st March

18th and 25th April

2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th May

6th June

If you are interested in the above, please contact the Centre to register your name and to receive a list of dates.



A group of 7 young people along with 2 staff and a volunteer from BAC travelled across to Aviemore in the Cairngorms for a week in August to undertake a summer activity programme.  The group stayed at Badaguish in beautiful wooden lodges and during the week they helped out with the cooking and cleaning.  The week was designed to give the young people independence, provide new challenges, make new friendships and have some fun. 

The week consisted of a variety of activities which included white water rafting, climbing/abseiling, feeding a herd of 37 reindeers, visiting a Scottish Folk Park, taking part in team building games, going to the swimming pool and cinema, cycling and walking around Rotheimerchus Forest, along with a number of other activities.

On the last night the group all went out a lovely meal in Aviemore before heading home the next day.  Everyone really enjoyed their week away and are looking forward to another week next year.





We have now a couple of groups who are undertaking the John Muir Award.

The John Muir Award is an environmental award that encourages people of all backgrounds to connect, enjoy and care for wild places through a structured yet adaptable scheme. The Award is not competitive but should challenge each participant. Taking part will develop an understanding of, and responsibility for, a chosen wild place or places. For some this will offer an opportunity to explore values and spirituality.

It was launched in 1997 by the John Muir Trust to:

  • Promote educational, social and personal development through exploration of wild places and involvement in conservation
  • Encourage an environmental agenda within youth organisations
  • Ensure that social circumstances don’t exclude people from opportunities to experience wild places.


John Muir Award Criteria

Four Challenges are at the heart of each John Muir Award, to achieve an Award each participant must:

Discover a wild place
Explore its wildness
Conserve - take personal responsibility
Share experiences

Participants should show enthusiasm and commitment, and have an awareness about John Muir.

There are 3 levels of the Award, encouraging a progressive involvement. The same 4 challenges above are repeated for each level, with increased involvement in time, activity and ownership.

  • Discovery Award (introductory level) minimum 4 days (or equivalent)
  • Explorer Award (intermediate level) minimum 8 days (or equivalent)
  • Conserver Award (advanced level) minimum 20 days (or equivalent) over 6 months


Financial assistance may be available. Please contact the project to discuss this further. If you have any queries about any of the above programme or activities, please do not hesitate to contact myself, Nicola Campbell at Belfast Activity Centre on either 90600132 or email: nicola.campbell@belfastactivitycentre.com



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