Bournemouth Borough Council have invested millions in new leisure facilities to encourage residents to keep active.
Alongside BH Live, a South Coast leisure and event operator, the council are funding a £2.3 million project to support the town’s leisure centres by creating state-of-the-art facilities made accessible to all.
The ongoing investment is said to benefit Bournemouth’s residents, who are the most active in the UK.
Councillor Lawrence Williams, Cabinet Member for Leisure at Bournemouth Council, said: “Investments in our leisure centres are helping us buck the national trend of cuts to council leisure budgets so that the thousands of residents who exercise in them every day can continue to enjoy the latest equipment and modern facilities at value for money prices.”
With over 1.8 million people attending Bournemouth’s leisure centres each year, the new initiative is said to benefit over 1,000 people through BH Live’s exercise referral scheme.
As well as this, residents suffering from health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS) are profiting from specialist activity courses.
The social enterprise is currently working in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council in a £1.2 million improvement programme at Littledown Centre, Chaseside.
As the UK’s largest leisure facility, the gym will be made bigger to provide a more functional space for attendees, with two additional fitness studios being built with help from the £500,000 contribution from BH Live for new gym equipment.
Peter Gunn, BH Live Chief Executive and Chairman of Sporta, a national association representing leisure and cultural trusts, says: “The enthusiasm for physical activity to improve long term health and wellbeing has never been so strong.”
Due to the increase in demand and participation across Bournemouth’s leisure centres, the collective investment aims to keep the public active despite local authorities being asked to make budget savings of £4.3 billion.
“Through ongoing investment, especially at a time when many other operators and authorities are cutting back, we will continue providing Bournemouth’s community with first class leisure centres and encourage more people into participating in an active lifestyle,” said Mr Gunn.
BH Live’s involvement with local leisure centres is said to have increasingly attracted footfall through business tourism, as well as supporting 4,500 jobs in the region.
The Chief Executive of Bournemouth Borough Council, Tony Williams, said: “Since BH Live took over the operation of our venues in 2010, participation in physical activity has increased, the quality of facilities and diversity of services has improved, the cultural programme has grown and the cost savings to the Council have been £3 million, with a further £6 million to be saved over the next five years.
“Partnering with BH Live has enabled Bournemouth Borough Council to maintain and improve the quality of the entertainment, sport and leisure facilities in Bournemouth for the benefit of local residents and visitors.”
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