However, swimming and general leisure centre memberships are up
To stay up to date with all the latest news from across Bedfordshire sign up to our free newsletter for daily updates and all the latest breaking news
We have more newsletters
Swimming and leisure centre memberships have returned to pre-Covid levels or higher in Central Bedfordshire, although fitness activities have seen a slight fall, a meeting heard. Gym use at the local authority leisure centres is down by up to 15 per cent, Central Bedfordshire Council’s sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee was told.
But the overall picture was described by Conservative Sandy councillor Tracey Stock as “really good news”, explaining: “We’ve seen a continuing increase in activity across all leisure centres. There’s been good usage for casual swimming and overall memberships are exceeding the pre-Covid numbers, especially in Dunstable and Biggleswade.
“We’ve seen an increase in AquaEd, which is swimming lessons, that’s 15 per cent up from the pandemic. Fitness membership is still slightly down, about ten to 15 per cent below on average across all sites.
Read more:Latest 'what's on' news from across Bedfordshire
“Our leisure centres are having an open day this month and we’ll have different activities going on throughout the facilities. It’s really to attract all different parts of the society to get involved in something they wouldn’t normally do.”
The service continues to work with public health and BLMK integrated care system (ICS), said the executive member for health, wellbeing and communities councillor Stock.
“The leisure premises have been supporting the stop smoking initiatives, cancer rehabilitation services and children with the holiday activity food programme. And that was organised activities, the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) local offer, throughout the summer.
“The leisure centres and swimming pools will remain open throughout the winter. All swimming pools will continue to operate a full timetable. Where possible, during quieter periods, the centres will be managed as efficiently as possible to reduce costs.
“We’re also working with The Grove Theatre to aid with the cost of living crisis by offering reduced ticketing prices for children to allow them to still access arts and culture during winter when most families will feel the pinch.”
The service has been working with various partners to increase our programme around physical activity and the countryside, particularly during the summer holidays, she added.
She said: “These include free explorer at Houghton Hall Park and Rushmere Country Park, as well as the summer sport at Dunstable Downs and activity at Houghton Hall, such as the outdoor theatre, craft sessions and activity trails. We’ve also worked closely with children’s services and trained 18 new healthy movers champions to help embed physical activities into the early years programmes.”
Independent Tithe Farm councillor Pat Hamill raised concerns about Houghton Hall Park, saying: “Where you have the film shows and various family activities on that green area in front of the visitors centre, there’s commonly dog fouling. It’s picked up, but then families arrive with their picnics and sit on the ground where the dog owners have removed that stuff.
“Could this area be fenced off in a friendlier manner, so it can be used safely by families?” he asked. Councillor Stock replied: “I can’t answer whether it can be fenced off, but I’ll take your feedback to the Houghton Hall Park board.”
Beds woman with rare condition conquers her fears of going out in public
New £14.1million "fantastically exciting" Shefford school to replace Campton Academy
Bank Holiday supermarket opening hours and new strict guidelines as nation mourns Queen's death
What £300k homes for sale in Bedfordshire look like in different towns around the county
Bedford town centre to gain hundreds of homes with Build To Rent scheme
For the latest things to do with the family in your area, type your postcode below.