Kidsgrove Sports Centre has unveiled a £7.5 million transformation.
Years of hard work has resulted in the old run-down site being turned into a major sports village, boasting some of the best in the county.
It marks a major turn-around for Kidsgrove, which just a few years ago faced an uncertain future.
Now fitness fanatics are in for a treat as the new-look site boasts a 24m, six-lane swimming pool, the largest sports hall in North Staffordshire, a fully equipped gym and fitness suite, dance studio, spinning studio and physio area.
A new roof and signs in braille, as well as new flooring and lighting give the centre a modern feel.
The site is part of a “sports village” concept, complementing premium community sports facilities at the adjacent King’s CE Academy and nearby Clough Hall Park. This is in addition to the new, state-of-the-art pump track at Newchapel recreation ground which is regarded as one of the best in the country.
Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group, a registered charity, has also been awarded almost £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund to create a community hub and café at the centre, including free Wi-Fi and tablets. It has also attracted support and funding totalling £360,000 from Sport England, Cricket Staffordshire and The Football Foundation.
Mark Clews, Chairman of Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted to achieve our ambition to provide an outstanding community leisure facility for Kidsgrove and the north of our borough. It has taken many years of hard work and dedication from all partners involved.
“It’s exceptionally pleasing that the refurbished facility has been able to retain its iconic character, while being modern and accessible for all. Residents wanted a refurbished sports centre and via our work with the council and other partners we have been able to achieve this.
“This is a true community facility, one where everything spent is invested back into the centre. We look forward to continuing our positive relationship with the Council and delivering on our shared aims and objectives.”
The major revamp has been financed by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Town Deal funding.
The council has worked closely with Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group over the past five years to find a sustainable way of delivering premium health and fitness for residents after a withdrawal of previous service provision in June 2017, partly due to the poor condition of the Fourth Avenue building.
The major renovation was carried out by contractor Willmott Dixon after assessments showed refurbishment was the most cost-effective option.
The council, which now owns the building, has entered a 25-year lease with the community group. Visitors can pay as they go or sign up to flexible and affordable membership packages which offer value for regular users.
Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “I’m delighted that Kidsgrove Sports Centre has reopened. It’s taken years of hard work and determination behind the scenes to make our collective vision a reality but we’ve finally achieved our ambitious goal and it feels really satisfying.
“This much-needed community asset – which started off as sad, run down and mothballed – looks absolutely amazing now and I know that residents will also be over the moon with the transformation. The new, high quality facilities will make such a difference to people’s health, well-being and quality of life. It’s definitely been worth the wait.
“One of the council’s priorities is to create a healthy and active borough by providing residents with access to a wide range of great facilities and activities.
“Unfortunately there have been health inequalities in Kidsgrove in the past but that is changing, not only with the celebrated re-opening of the sports centre but with several other linked projects also funded by the council and advanced Town Deal.
“I’d like to thank Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group for their equally unwavering determination to bring enhanced leisure facilities to the town and I wish them the best of luck in this new and exciting chapter.”
For more information, including opening times and pay as you go/membership prices, visit the community group’s website or follow on Twitter (@kidsgrovesport) and Facebook.