Leisure centre in Dagenham celebrates 10th anniversary

Everyone Active operations manager Shane Smith with Becontree Heath Leisure Centre member Christina

Everyone Active operations manager Shane Smith with Becontree Heath Leisure Centre member Christina Muller, who was surprised with a gift hamper for being the 100th member through the door. - Credit: Everyone Active

A leisure centre in Dagenham which has been visited almost eight million times is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Becontree Heath Leisure Centre opened its doors in Althorne Way in 2011.

The centre was used as a training venue for the 2012 Olympic Games and was officially opened by Lord Sebastian Coe earlier that year.

Diane Massey, who has been a member since it opened, said: “It’s so nice to come to a centre where the team do challenge you and push you to be a better version of yourself and keep things interesting.”

For the past three and a half years, the centre has been run by sports and leisure operator Everyone Active, in partnership with Barking and Dagenham Council.

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Since then, almost 1.3 million children have been part of Everyone Active's learn to swim scheme and about 250,000 pupils have also had school swimming lessons at the centre.

Deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for community leadership and engagement, Cllr Saima Ashraf, said: “The Becontree Heath Leisure Centre has been a significant asset for the borough over the last ten years in helping residents become more active.

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“It has received accolades for being one of the busiest pools in the country and having one of the largest learn to swim programmes in the UK, helping children to learn a valuable life skill.” 

Betsy Kanagwa has been going to the centre for the past eight years - her son El-Nathan Okesade had his swimming lessons there and is now old enough to join the junior gym.

Becontree Heath Leisure Centre members Betsy Kanagwa and her son El-Nathan Okesade

Betsy Kanagwa and her son El-Nathan Okesade have been going to the centre for the past eight years. - Credit: Everyone Active

Betsy said: “El Nathan has had some amazing teachers over the years who have really understood his needs and helped him get the best out of his swimming lessons.

“We’re just so happy to be back after lockdown and have both joined the gym now too.

"The staff are always so friendly and welcoming."

To celebrate the milestone anniversary, the centre ran an online competition with one lucky winner receiving free membership for a year.

The 100th member through the doors on Monday was also surprised with a hamper that included spa vouchers and lotions, five free family swims, guest passes and Everyone Active merchandise.

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