A YEAR on from Sunderland City Council entering into a sports and leisure partnership with Everyone Active, more people than ever are joining in, learning to swim and taking part in exercise classes.
The council announced in March 2015 that it was entering into a joint venture partnership with SLM which would involve the company, operating as Everyone Active, managing its eight sports and leisure facilities.
The partnership came into being on 1 June and celebrated its first birthday this week with a cake cutting at Washington Leisure Centre, which opened on the same day in 2015.
Councillor John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness, and Culture, said: “It’s been a really encouraging first year. We’ve seen more people than ever taking part in potentially life saving swimming lessons every week.
“We’ve been able to offer much greater variety when it comes to group exercise classes which has resulted in more people signing up to take part.
“And we’ve seen real investment at two of our leisure centres with a £1.3m refurbishment at Sunderland Aquatic Centre and a brand new £1.2m gym at Silksworth.
“I’m delighted to say we’ve also been able to complete phase 2 of Washington Leisure Centre which now boasts six all weather 3G five-a-side football pitches and a 100 space car park in addition to the pool with its two water flumes, 25m pool and learner pool which we opened last June.
“So all in all it’s been a very good year in terms of getting people active and we’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with Everyone Active.”
Everyone Active manages 140 facilities across the country in partnership with 40 local authorities.
Ian Bradgate, Everyone Active’s Area Contract Manager, said: “The first year of our partnership with Sunderland City Council has been hugely successful and we are delighted to see an increase in the number of people using the impressive facilities available to them.
“We’ve made improvements to the Silksworth Tennis Centre, Raich Carter Sport Centre and the Sunderland Aquatic Centre over the past 12 months, which we are extremely proud of. We’ve also launched the brand new Washington Leisure Centre, which has proven very popular, and we’ve developed a great partnership with Sunderland Football Club.
“As a company, we’ve been made to feel very welcome here in Sunderland and we’ve received lots of positive feedback from our members. We hope to continue our success and further build upon our excellent relationship with the council moving forward.”
Highlights for the Sunderland partnership over the last year include:
• £1.3 million refurbishment of the Sunderland Aquatic Centre, including a state of the art gym, spinning room and café pod
• £1.2 million new gym built at Silksworth Community Pool and Sunderland Tennis Centre
• There is now an impressive 55,000 Everyone Active card holders
• 12,933 health and fitness memberships across all sites
• 6,769 customers take part in swimming lessons every week
• 27 apprentices have been employed across all leisure centre sites
• Sunderland Aquatic Centre has hosted a number of local, regional and national swimming galas
• Sunderland Tennis Centre hosted the prestigious ‘Tennis Europe’ event for under 12 girls in February 2016
• The Tennis Davis Cup was on display to the public at the Sunderland Tennis Centre in April 2016
• The Sunderland Ski Centre hosted the ‘All England Ski Championships’ in August 2015
• A wide variety of group exercise and ‘virtual reality’ classes are now available across all sites – 586 classes on offer per week
• Facilities open earlier at Hetton and Silksworth to accommodate customer need
• School Holiday Camps have now been introduced to the programme
• Competitive Football Leagues have now been established at Washington Leisure Centre
Cllr Kelly added: “The partnership builds on the work that was already underway through the city’s Active Sunderland approach to encourage more people to take part in physical activity, sport and leisure more often with all the benefits that that brings for people’s health and wellbeing.”