Active Centres operate ﬁve leisure centres and two dual-use sports centres across South Gloucestershire. Since 2005 they have worked with Circadian Trust, the charitable company working in partnership with the local authority, to improve the health, cultural and social wellbeing of the local community.
Any proﬁt made is reinvested back into local facilities and services, most recently a £1.4 million refurbishment of their Yate-based leisure centre. Circadian also work in a close partnership with the South Gloucestershire County Council to manage their ﬁve 25m pools and teaching facilities at Bradley Stoke, Kingswood, Thornbury, Longwell Green and Yate.
“Bradley Stoke is our busiest active lifestyle centre with over 500,000 visits each year,” says Active Centres CEO Mark Crutchley, “It has recently undergone a £3.6million refurbishment which has resulted in a new adventure play and adventure climbing facilities, two new ﬁtness studios as well as signiﬁcant expansions to the gym.
The centre also has a 25m pool which was used by 2016 Paralympic Triathlon Gold medallist Andy Lewis in his training preparations.”
While the number of visitors has grown steadily over the years, the Trust has been able to reinvest in new facilities and evolve the business. “Thornbury also has an integrated deep diving pit whilst Kingswood offers diving boards up to 5m,” says Mark. In 2016, Active Centres recorded 2,340,000 visitors across the five leisure centres, and since 2006 the charity has raised over £7m, which has been reinvested in new initiatives.
“Our mission is to inspire active lifestyles. Being a charitable trust, we aim to reinvest and provide high quality sports and leisure facilities to the local community. We are passionate about service, providing expertise and strive to continually be better at what we do.”
However, with on-going political uncertainty, and ever-changing local council plans, the company acknowledges the challenges that it must face. Says Mark: “Shrinking budgets, and indecision on spending money in today’s political climate, means all providers are under increasing pressure to make tough decisions about what facilities and services to offer.
“Leisure trends have changed considerably over the years. Gone are the days when sports halls and swimming pools are provided with no thought as to what happens inside them: we need to ensure facilities are maximised according to consumer demand.”
Active Centres are currently well into the second phase of their £1.5million refurbishment of their Longwell Green site, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. This aims to bring with it, exciting new activities and greater capacity for a growing community, including new changing rooms and more poolside showers. They are also part way through the refurbishment of the pool at Yate, due to be completed in October, replacing the pool pipework and plant with new and environmentally friendly equipment which will secure the sustainability of the pool for the local community.
PART TIME POOL
Following on from their impressive solution to a full pool refurbishment, by erecting one of the world’s largest temporary pools, Active Centres are continuing to impress in the water leisure industry, allowing swimming and lessons to continue. With two projects in the pipeline, Active Centre are always looking to the future, and Mark explains: “The Trust is working closely with Swim England looking at ways in which we can increase swim participation by raising the profile of aquatics in the community.
“We are launching our first Aquatic Business Strategy which will guide our aquatic developments and actions over the next four years.”
Active Centres Tel. 0300 333 0300 www.activecentres.org