Leisure centre visits in Barking and Dagenham sky-rocket by thousands

The number of people using leisure centres in Barking and Dagenham has sky-rocketed over the past 12 months, with 9,000 more visitors per month in 2013 than in the previous year.

A total of 830,930 visits were made to the two existing leisure centres in the borough between April and November - an increase of 14.8 per cent compared to 724,090 over the same peroid in 2012.

Swimming facilities have seen the biggest bump in popularity, following the council’s Learn to Swim programme, which is one of the largest individual programmes in the country.

New classes have been introduced to cope with the demand for swimming and gym facilities, and a new Barking Leisure Centre will open later this year to replace the old Gores brook and Abbey Leisure Centres.

The new centre will include a 25 metre swimming pool, a learner pool, a 120 station fitness gym, a health spa and three dance and workout studios.

Cllr Liam Smith, cabinet member for leisure, sport and libraries, said: “The latest figures are very impressive with a huge increase in the number of people accessing the borough’s sports facilities.

“The council is committed to providing opportunities for local residents to get involved in sport and physical activity and these figures have proved that this is the case.”

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He added: “We have a fantastic sporting heritage to be proud of.

“With more of our young and disabled people becoming more active and taking up new sports we could produce more sporting heroes.”

For more information visit www.lbbd.gov.uk/activeleisure or call Becontree Heath Leisure Centre on 020 8227 3338 or Abbey Sports Centre on 020 8270 6800.