Transforming leisure centres into vibrant community hubs

Our head of business development, Paul Kirkwood, reflects on the benefits of combining community and leisure facilities, and how we can support customers to deliver leisure centres that are integral community hubs.

Leisure centres have evolved beyond being mere places for physical activity. They are spaces that foster a sense of belonging within communities. Our most recent project in collaboration with Westminster City Council, Seymour Leisure Centre, will deliver a leisure centre along with a library and new office spaces for Westminster City Council.

The evolution of leisure centres

Gone are the days when leisure centres were solely associated with swimming pools. Modern leisure centres provide multi-functional spaces that enhance the community. We are designing leisure centres with careful consideration of the holistic wellbeing of the community, providing spaces for social interaction, learning, relaxation, and even entrepreneurial ventures.

Our experience providing a variety of leisure and community facility combinations means that we can take our customers along on this journey, offering options to combine facilities and delivering highly sustainable leisure centres that are low carbon.

Benefits of community-centric leisure centres

By combining leisure and community facilities and focusing on ways that a leisure centre can further support its community, we can deliver spaces that encourage:

  1. Social cohesion: providing a shared space for residents to engage in diverse activities.
  2. Wellness: a holistic approach to health includes physical fitness, mental well-being, and emotional balance. Leisure centres that offer a range of activities contribute to the overall wellness of the community.
  3. Economic growth: community hubs often attract foot traffic, benefiting local businesses and entrepreneurs. This economic activity can contribute to the growth of the neighbourhood.
  4. Cultural enrichment: by offering a variety of services, leisure centres can attract the entire community, fostering cultural exchange and understanding.
  5. Cost savings: combining facilities can lead to cost savings for local authorities.

Enriching the community in Westminster

We are continuing a legacy of delivering projects within Westminster, to deliver a refurbishment to the Grade II listed Seymour Centre, which has been an integral part of the local community for over 100 years.

We are delivering an open-plan gym on the lower ground floor creating a new and accessible space for gym users. In addition to this, we will deliver a new home for Marylebone Library within the centre, spread over two floors. The new centre will also include municipal offices for Westminster City Council on the first floor, solidifying the centre as a space that will serve its community.

By combing essential community services, Seymour Leisure Centre will be a flexible-use community facility that will attract a diverse range of user groups, creating an essential community hub that will provide better leisure and wider services for the local community.

A legacy of combining leisure and community facilities

In 2022 we handed over Morpeth Leisure Centre and community hub. This leisure centre will support the health and wellbeing of local residents with a range of facilities that include a six-lane swimming pool with a spectator gallery, learner pool, spa facilities, four-court sports hall, 100-station fitness suite, plus a dedicated cycling studio and large fitness studios.

The project also incorporated a new community services hub, a customer service centre and a new adult learning facility with classrooms for STEM learning and catering.

Interim leader of Northumberland County Council, Glen Sanderson said:

“I am delighted that we are one step closer to creating outstanding sports, leisure and community facilities for Morpeth and the wider area. The new centre will be a real asset for the town and a wonderful place for residents and visitors to enjoy for many years to come.”

Combining health and leisure

We are currently in preconstruction to deliver Bransbury Leisure Centre for Portsmouth City Council. This project will deliver a new sports, leisure and healthcare facility that will combine community services within one space, providing a new home for leisure and health facilities. The scheme will include a swimming pool, sports facilities and a GP surgery.

This combination of health and leisure can be beneficial for communities. By having both leisure and health services under one roof it can be more convenient for people to access a wide range of wellness resources.

Providing entrepreneurial space

We delivered Bingham Arena and Enterprise Centre, which is a low-carbon leisure centre, community hall and self-contained offices for Rushcliffe Borough Council, providing much-needed spaces for the community.

The centre facilities include a 25-metre, six-lane swimming pool with seating for 330 spectators, which will be a valuable resource for local schools and for swimming competitions. It also includes a learning pool, a café, two exercise studios, a spin studio, a fitness gym and changing room facilities, as well as a 207-space car park with 12 accessible spaces.

It also provides a hub for the community through a 260sq.m community hall, which can accommodate 300 people and features a fixed stage area with dedicated changing facilities, a control room, kitchen and storage.

Also situated on the site is Bingham Enterprise Business. The two-storey building houses 12 self-contained offices, a breakout area, meeting rooms and shared working spaces. The office spaces were built with the intention letting them to new businesses in the area to support them in their growth.

Building stronger communities through innovative leisure centres

Our holistic approach to leisure ensures that our customers in the public sector can support their communities when delivering leisure facilities. By creating inclusive spaces that cater to various needs and fostering collaboration, these community hubs can become the heart of their community.

If you’d like to hear more about our leisure offering, please contact Paul