Twice Olympic Gold and Bronze Medallist Swimmer, Rebecca Adlington OBE, officially opened the new £11.9 million Wyre Forest Leisure Centre in Kidderminster in October. The state-of-the-art centre includes a six lane 25m swimming pool, a learner pool with moveable floor, 100 station fitness suite, a six court sports hall, dance studios, climbing wall and outdoor pitches. It also has a cafe with viewing areas, a double height children’s adventure play area, and a health suite with sauna and steam room. Since opening to the public in July, the centre has seen around 10,000 people using its facilities every week.
Speaking at the official opening, Rebecca Adlington commented: “The facilities are just amazing and the swimming pool and learner pool are brilliant. I’ve been to many leisure centres across the country and Wyre Forest is without doubt one of the best,” she said. “I first got into swimming at the age of three as my parents wanted me to learn a life skill and I fell in love with it straight away. “My vision is that every child in Britain will be able to swim 25 metres by the time they leave primary school and facilities like these at Wyre Forest Leisure Centre go a long way in helping to make this a reality,” Rebecca added. Places for People Leisure will be operating and managing the centre on behalf of the Council for the next 25 years. They won the contract to design and build it with their construction partners Pellikaan Construction and architects Roberts Limbrick.
Places for People Leisure CEO, Sandra Dodd explains: “In partnership with Wyre Forest District Council we work hard to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community and this new leisure centre is a step in the right direction. We are confident that we have created an environment in which the members of the local community can come and positively engage in leisure activities and look forward to following the progress of the centre and its members over the coming months.” Wyre Forest Leisure Centre is situated in the middle of the three main towns in Wyre Forest; Kidderminster, Stourport and Bewdley, and serves the entire community from babies to pensioners.
The 25m swimming pool in particular has proved to be popular, attracting more than 14,600 visits per month. Swimming activities include family fun sessions, inflatable sessions, aqua aerobics classes, lane swimming, disability swim sessions, public swimming lessons for adults and children and school swimming lessons. “The pool serves the whole community of Wyre Forest and is well equipped to support the less abled. This area of service is very popular,” comments Stuart Booton, General Manager at Wyre Forest Leisure Centre.
“We also offer birthday pool parties and fun sessions with floats and inflatables, which are popular among our visitors, as are our aqua fitness classes.” Backed up by a UV system, an in-house team maintains the pool on a daily basis, supplemented with extra support from local pool company Buckingham Swimming Pools. Says Stuart: “Even though the centre has been open a relatively short time, we already host regular swimming galas and the pool is also used by a local triathlon club. We are currently gearing up for the Swimathon that takes place in April, which the team is very much looking forward to.”
Stuart is part of the 166-strong team of staff at the centre, who work together to ensure the smooth running of the facility on a daily basis. He is supported in his role as General Manager by Operations Manager Luke Mitchell, Front of House Manager Gemma Prescot, Sales Manager Chrissy Price, Fitness Manager Dan Chance and Jenny Evans the Swimming Co-ordinator. “In 2017, one of our goals is to work very closely with the Wyre Forest Swimming Club to set up a talent spotting scheme to provide exit routes for the gifted and talented on our in-house schemes,” says Stuart. He adds: “On a longer term basis we hope to continually expand the opportunities for everyone to enjoy swimming, maintain fitness and learn a life skill at the centre.”