Work gets underway on £1.97m Brandon Leisure Centre upgrade

Brandon Leisure Centre has opened its doors to welcome back customers to keep fit and well, while contractors begin work on a major upgrade.

The 44-week project to bring community health services alongside improved fitness facilities will be completed in three phases designed to keep any disruption to the minimum, allowing users to get back into routines and enjoy using the facilities after lockdown.

The works while extensive, are internal and create new spaces to provide facilities highlighted by residents through in-depth consultation on what was important to them. They include an improved café and waiting area; gym relocation and a purpose-built free weights area; a new studio and a Shapemaster suite, and improved changing facilities as well as treatment rooms and office space.

The scheme also includes the first Changing Places toilet in the town http://www.changing-places.org/

Brandon Leisure Centre is owned by West Suffolk Council and managed by not-for-profit social enterprise Abbeycroft Leisure.

The £1.97m cost of the project is being met from West Suffolk Council’s Leisure Investment Fund. The first phase lasting until the end of February sees the gym being repositioned and upgraded. The second phase lasting until the end of June creates new rentable spaces and the third phase lasting until September 2021 sees completion of the new café, toilets and changing place toilet.

Jo Rayner, Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs, said: “I am delighted to see this long-planned investment in Brandon underway. We may be experiencing a lot of uncertainty but the time has never been better for bringing together community health and fitness facilities for the benefit of local people. Now more than ever we need to be looking to maintain our wellbeing by being more active, and the excellent team at Abbeycroft Leisure are there to help you on your journey. The project has been designed to be Covid-19 secure, to cause the least disruption and deliver the new facilities as quickly as possible.”

Warren Smyth, CEO of Abbeycroft Leisure, the social enterprise which manages West Suffolk’s leisure centres added: “Customers have been steadily coming back to the Covid-19 secure leisure centre since we re-opened following national restrictions, and what we are hearing confirms research suggesting that people are looking forward to returning to regular exercise, to lift their sense of wellbeing and cope with current circumstances. Our staff are here to put you first and we all look forward to Brandon Leisure Centre being shining example of local people being at the heart of joined up services.”

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