Leisure update shines a light on major progress so far
- Update on progress to improve Reading’s leisure facilities
- Improvement work completed at two leisure centres
- Leisure usage almost back to pre-Covid levels
READING COUNCIL’S continued commitment to delivering modern new leisure facilities for Reading – including a new leisure centre and two brand new swimming pools – will be highlighted in a presentation taking place next week.
A report by Reading Council’s leisure team, and a presentation by Reading’s leisure provider Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) at Housing and Neighbourhoods Committee (Wednesday 9 November), will provide an update on the ongoing delivery of leisure services and progress on the development of new leisure facilities.
Just over one year on from the operational transfer of the Council’s leisure centres to Reading’s new provider GLL, the update highlights achievements so far, including:
- Reading securing a £1.5m grant from Sport England Strategic Facilities Fund;
- Improvements at South Reading Leisure Centre completed in February 2022;
- Improvements at Meadway Leisure Centre completed in July 2022;
- Progress so far in new build energy efficient schemes, such as air source heat pumps and solar panels;
- The significant progress on the drive to improve health and wellbeing across Reading, with targeted activities to help reduce health inequalities via the ‘Healthwise’ scheme;
- Palmer Park Leisure Centre & Stadium on schedule to open in December 2022.
The presentation will also note progress to raising usage to pre-Covid levels, customer feedback, GLL’s ongoing investment in staff development, and outlines the next steps over the coming year.
Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward, Lead Councillor for Leisure and Culture, said: “I welcome this useful overview on the progress so far to delivering first-class leisure facilities to the people of Reading. The report and presentation will demonstrate how our partnership with GLL is already paying dividends for Reading, with so much more to come by the end of this year and during 2023.
“This year has seen exciting improvements delivered at Meadway Sports Centre and South Reading Leisure Centre. Our investment in these popular centres demonstrates our commitment to providing high-quality leisure facilities across the borough.
“By the end of this year, the new Palmer Park Leisure Centre and Stadium will open, becoming the only facility of its kind in the region, and one of only a handful across the country, to offer a 25m 6-lane community pool alongside a velodrome and athletics stadium. The new Rivermead centre will follow in 2023 with a 25m 8-lane competition pool with dedicated diving provision.
“The update reaffirms how taking action on the climate emergency is a top priority for us. We were already committed that the new centres would be constructed to BREEAM Excellent environmental standards and using renewables where possible. Our measures to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental efficiency will hopefully make Reading’s new leisure facilities as environmentally friendly as possible.
“As well as the improved facilities across all our leisure sites, this update will highlight how we are also working to increase physical activity, health and wellbeing across the borough. Weight management courses, cardiac and cancer rehabilitation and targeted work in the community is already significantly reaching out to those in most need and working to reduce health inequalities.”
Craig Woodward, GLL’s Partnership Manager for Reading said: “It has been a huge privilege to take on the management of three additional leisure centres within Reading and to be part of the regeneration of leisure provision within the town. As our presentation shows, good inroads have been made this year into achieving better leisure for Reading.
“The new and improved facilities achieved so far at South Reading and Meadway, for example, have already enhanced Reading’s sports and leisure offering and this will undoubtedly lead to an increase in participation and so better health and wellbeing for local residents.
“We look forward to the next steps in this hugely positive and transformational project for the benefit of all.”
The leisure report for Housing and Neighbourhoods Committee is available here https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=140&MId=4879
The presentation can be watched live on the evening or will be available on the Council’s Youtube channel the following day: www.youtube.com/c/ReadingCouncilNews
For regular updates on the leisure project visit www.better.org.uk/new-reading-leisure or follow the Council on social media @ReadingCouncil Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or GLL at @Better_Reading