Leisure Facilities for all

Susan Rossetto, Group Health and Wellbeing Manager, this month explains just how important a tailored leisure offering is to encourage a healthy nation and generations to come.

Our all-encompassing approach to leisure provision ensures that people of all ages and fitness abilities are provided with the support they need to lead healthy and active lifestyles.

Overcoming obstacles to exercise

We work hard to remove barriers to participation in physical activity faced by some of the most inactive groups in society - two key demographics being ageing individuals and those suffering with disabilities and mental illnesses. Our entire workforce is trained to support customers with dementia. The evidence is clear - becoming more active helps to improve muscle strength, balance and flexibility, aiding independent living and a reduced risk of falls.

Inspiring a generation

Following the 2012 Olympics we launched a legacy pledge to inspire a generation and get more people, particularly children, more active. The pledge aimed to provide safe family play settings and to engage with schools to provide a range of sporting opportunities. Working alongside National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of Sport in Swimming, Badminton, Gymnastics and Football we have invested in our coach development and use of their ‘taster products’ to attract new participants and volunteers. Our unique experience gained from these partnerships such as with the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) helps us continue to drive participation year on year.

We also take pride in our collaborations with local sports clubs. As the largest operator of the British Gymnastics (BG) grassroots scheme, we appointed Nikki La Niece as Group Gymnastics Manager in 2013 to drive participation in gymnastics and trampolining. We now have 7,500 children taking part in gymnastics at our leisure centres each week.

In addition, sites have benefited from £30,000 of funding from BG for new gymnastics equipment including start up kits, soft shapes and matting. We were also granted £10,000 to grow our trampolining provision with brand new equipment. At the River Park Leisure Centre in Winchester the scheme has driven a wide range of pre-school and introductory courses attracting 250 participants each term, linking in with a gymnastics performance centre at nearby Basingstoke and dovetailing with the River Park gymnastics club which has over 1500 members.

Eat out, eat well

Eating habits are just as important when addressing a healthy lifestyle. As a Group we are committed to promoting nutrition, health and wellness through the food and beverage offering. Our approach to menu content resulted in the ‘Eat Out, Eat Well” Award for excellent hygiene standards at a number of our facilities.

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