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Reading Borough Leisure Centres Celebrate One Million Visits

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VISITS to the council’s four leisure centres are on the rise, approaching one million per year, reflecting the Council’s ongoing investment in new and exciting leisure facilities for residents.

The Council’s £40 million investment program has seen significant works undertaken at all of the town’s leisure centres, including refurbishments at both Meadway Sports Centre and South Reading Leisure Centre, Palmer Park’s new and improved leisure centre and an all-new flagship centre at Rivermead.

A presentation at next week’s (Feb 21) meeting of the Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee by Reading’s leisure partner, Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), will provide an update on the ongoing delivery of improved facilities, including the opening of the two brand new centres at Rivermead and Palmer Park, as well as an update on progress of Rivermead’s new swimming pools which are due to open in the summer.

Three years on from the commencement of the Council’s new partnership with GLL the update report highlights achievements to date, including:

  • Brand new Rivermead Leisure Centre’s dry side facilities opened in July 2023. The 25m 8 lane competition pool and teaching and diving pool, both with moveable floors, and fun children’s splash pad area will open in summer 2024
  • Palmer Park Leisure Centre and Stadium with a gym, studios, soft play, café, and a 6 lane 25m community swimming pool opened in December 2022
  • New Rivermead and Palmer Park Centres both built to BREEAM Excellent sustainability standards
  • Reading secured a £1.5 million grant from Sport England Strategic Facilities Fund
  • Significant progress made on the drive to improve health and wellbeing across Reading, with targeted activities to help reduce health inequalities via the ‘Healthwise’ scheme;
  • Investors in People Gold Status awarded to GLL in its 30th anniversary year
  • Reading Council, GLL, and Reading Football Club Community Trust (RFCCT) collaborating to utilise South Reading Leisure Centre for social inclusion initiatives run by the Trust, supporting young people who may not find mainstream education services suitable for their needs using football as a vehicle to engage students and foster confidence, life skills, and improved educational attainment.

The presentation will also include customer feedback, GLL’s ongoing investment in staff development, and outline next steps over the coming year.

Adele Barnett-Ward, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Leisure and Culture said, “At a time when council funding is in crisis and other authorities are having to make cuts to leisure services Reading Borough Council has bucked the trend with this significant investment in sport and leisure. It’s fantastic to have tangible evidence, in the form of vastly increased visitor numbers, that was the right thing to do and that Reading’s residents are using and enjoying these high-quality modern facilities and services.

“The opening of new facilities and the upcoming pools at Rivermead Leisure Centre demonstrate our commitment to providing top-notch amenities for everyone in Reading, even in these difficult times.

“This remarkable achievement of reaching almost one million visitors a year is a testament to the collaborative efforts of the Council, GLL, and our community partners. We are united in our commitment to providing high-quality leisure facilities that cater to the diverse needs of our residents and contribute to the overall well-being of our community.”

The report and presentation to the Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee will demonstrate how our partnership with GLL is already paying dividends for Reading, and there is more to come with the opening of the two new swimming pools at Rivermead this summer: it has been exciting to watch the build progress and it won’t be long now before we have the first swimmers in the water!

“The past year has also seen exciting improvements delivered at Meadway Sports Centre and South Reading Leisure Centre. Our investment in these centres demonstrates our commitment to providing high-quality leisure facilities throughout the borough. Our measures to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental efficiency also ensure Reading’s new leisure facilities are as environmentally friendly as possible.”

“As well as the improved facilities across all our leisure sites, this update will highlight how we are 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 Partnership Manager said: “We are extremely pleased with the progress of the leisure facilities in Reading over the past 12 months, with some amazing milestones achieved.”

“With the opening of Palmer Park and Rivermead, along with refurbishments at Meadway and South Reading it has been a very successful year.”

“Looking ahead we are excited about the opportunities that we are able to offer the residents in Reading and hope to see more people using these amazing leisure facilities.”

Reading Borough Leisure Centres Report & Presentation

The leisure report for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee is available here

The presentation can be watched live on the evening or will be available on the Council’s YouTube channel the following day: