Heads of leisure from across the UK visited Salt Ayre Leisure Centre in Lancaster to learn how Alliance Leisure has transformed this failing facility into a thriving community hub boasting a 72 per cent increase in customer visits.

Working with Lancaster City Council, Alliance Leisure led the £5m redevelopment of the centre from concept stage to delivery modernising the building and introducing a range of new attractions. These included the Les Mills immersive cycling experience, the Trip™; Europe’s first outdoor Flight Tower; an 80 station gym, adventure play area, XHeight climbing wall, barista-style café and luxury spa.

Sixty public sector leisure operators saw the transformation for themselves at a special event hosted by Alliance Leisure and Les Mills. They were also the first to learn about the positive impact of the development through ukactive’s independent research into the social and financial return on investment of the Salt Ayre project.

The centre, which was making an annual loss of £800,000, will be in a revenue-neutral position within three years, which includes paying back the initial £5m investment.  The ukactive research found that since the redevelopment, visits to the centre has jumped by more than 20,000. Gym attendance has increased by 83 per cent and fitness class attendance by 83 per cent, with the Les Mill Immersive experience attracting more than 5,000 visits alone. The new adventure facilities, including XHeight and the Flight Tower, generated more than 10,000 visits to the centre.

Active members has more than doubled to over 2,500 with female members increasing by 160 per cent to form 58 per cent of the membership base. The new junior membership has proved particularly popular with more than 200 sales.

The research showed that the new facilities are attracting people from further afield with users travelling from almost a kilometre further away to use the centre.

“The aim of the investment was to breathe new life into a failing facility and create a vibrant environment which stimulates participation. It is hugely satisfying to evidence large scale community engagement and successfully re-positions the facility as an integral part of what has become a more active local population,” says James Foley, Commercial Director at Alliance Leisure.

For more information about the project, take a look at this video filmed by ITN Productions in partnership with APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence)…

Paul Woodford speaking on Marketing and Culture

Professor Andy Miah talking technology, sport and health

Dr Steve Mann presenting the ukactive research findings

Delegates take the opportunity to experience the Les Mills The Trip for themselves