06-Mar-2018

Cllr Daryl Brown

Huntingdonshire District Council continues to invest strongly in the health and well-being opportunities for its residents and business through upgrades in buildings and equipment at its six One Leisure sites across the district. With over 2,240,000 visits annually and 45,000 individual memberships, there are increasing opportunities for anyone to get fit, stay well or rehabilitate at locations near to them.

On top of the newly refurbished and expanded Impressions Fitness Suite at One Leisure Huntingdon, which opened last month after an £800,000 investment, more funds can now be invested into significant improvements at One Leisure St Neots. The Huntingdon scheme also involved improvements at Zest café and Leo’s Fun Zone, alongside £275,000 parallel investment in swimming pool changing facilities. Now it’s the turn of St Neots.

This has been a seminal year for the council in driving sustainable investment in its sites. Direct ownership of the Huntingdon facility was secured in partnership with Huntingdon Town Council, and a fresh 25 year lease of the St Neots facility on the Ernulf school campus has been negotiated with the St Neots Learning Partnership. We now also operate the new leisure facility at the Alconbury Weald Enterprise Zone called The Club, on behalf of the lead developer Urban&Civic.

The St Neots deal will unlock nearly £300,000 investment in swimming pool facilities, alongside £116,000 for upgrades to the synthetic pitch. We have also been successful in leveraging external grant monies at St Neots and Huntingdon totalling almost £500,000 and are exploring opportunities for grant-funded improvements to outdoor facilities at One Leisure Ramsey. With environmental considerations in mind, along with financial prudency in operational efficiencies, up to £800,000 is being invested in energy reduction measures across all One Leisure sites to ensure buildings are sustainable and to minimise their environmental footprint.

However, it is not all about buildings. Our One Leisure Active Lifestyles team continues to work directly with communities and individual groups to deliver accessible health improvement options, particularly around cardiac rehabilitation and support for our ageing population to stay well and strong. The success of our programme, and delivery of real positive outcomes in helping people return to good health, has enabled £147,000 to be achieved outside of our own funding to support these critical activities that our communities need and benefit from.

Cllr Daryl Brown, whose executive responsibilities include One Leisure, said: "Our Council is rightly committed to the success and ambition of Huntingdonshire as a place and for its people. The provision of quality leisure opportunities across the district is critical in enabling residents to achieve healthy outcomes for their lives and also helping us to convince businesses to choose to invest here knowing there is a fit and able workforce. Together with the energies of a strong Officer Team, I have been delighted to be at the forefront of the modernisation of our One Leisure group, capturing opportunities for external funding and council investment. All this ensures our facilities stay relevant and offer an exciting range of activity choices, in accessible locations, that allow everyone to get fit, stay well or to recover and continue to make Huntingdonshire an attractive place to live and work. I encourage all our residents and employers to come and use our facilities. There is a variety of membership packages available and activities and equipment you may not expect. Come and join us at a One Leisure near you. I know you will be impressed."