Work gets underway on £1.97m Brandon Leisure Centre upgrade
11 Dec 2020
Brandon Leisure Centre has opened its doors to welcome back customers to keep fit and well, while contractors discreetly begin work on a major upgrade.
The 44 week project to bring community health services alongside improved fitness facilities will be completed in three phases designed to keep any disruption to the absolute minimum, allowing users to get back into routines and enjoy using the facilities after lockdown.
The works while extensive, are internal and create new spaces to provide facilities highlighted by residents through in-depth consultation on what was important to them. They include an improved café and waiting area; gym relocation and a purpose built free weights area; a new studio and a Shapemaster suite, and improved changing facilities as well as treatment rooms and office space. The scheme also includes the first Changing Places toilet in the town http://www.changing-places.org/
Brandon Leisure Centre is owned by West Suffolk Council and managed by not-for-profit social enterprise Abbeycroft Leisure. The £1.97m cost of the project is being met from West Suffolk Council’s Leisure Investment Fund. The first phase lasting until the end of February sees the gym being repositioned and upgraded. The second phase lasting until the end of June creates new rentable spaces and the third phase lasting until September 2021 sees completion of the new café, toilets and changing place toilet.
Cllr Jo Rayner, Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs said,
‘I am delighted to see this long planned investment in Brandon underway. We may be experiencing a lot of uncertainty but the time has never been better for bringing together community health and fitness facilities for the benefit of local people. Now more than ever we need to be looking to maintain our wellbeing by being more active, and the excellent team at Abbeycroft Leisure are there to help you on your journey. The project has been designed to be COVID-19 secure, to cause the least disruption and deliver the new facilities as quickly as possible. I look forward to updating you on progress.’
Michelle Glass, Associate Director, Community and Integrated Services for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and lead for Brandon said,
‘This timely project will help support Brandon’s health into the future. Our vision is to co-locate community health, social care and leisure services to provide access as close as possible to local people. As members of the West Suffolk Health Alliance, we were partners in the community engagement around which the facilities have been tailored. I look forward to seeing good progress and to the leisure centre being well used.’
Warren Smyth, CEO of Abbeycroft Leisure, the social enterprise which manages West Suffolk’s leisure centres said,
‘Customers have been steadily coming back to the COVID-19 secure leisure centre since we re-opened following national restrictions, and what we are hearing confirms research suggesting that people are looking forward to returning to regular exercise, to lift their sense of wellbeing and cope with current circumstances. Our staff are here to put you first and we all look forward to Brandon Leisure Centre being shining example of local people being at the heart of joined up services.’