When I was beginning my career in the leisure industry in the late 80’s, the ‘typical’ sports centre of the day was equipped with a sports hall, a few squash courts and a swimming pool (gyms were often confined to a multigym squeezed into an old store room!!!) We thought we were at the cutting edge of facility programming when we ran after school sports coaching, ‘activity’ birthday parties and of course kids holiday camps.
Whilst all of these activities and sports still have a place within our leisure facilities it is becoming ever harder to engage young people in physical activity as we now compete with computer games, a plethora of TV channels, on line media sources (conveniently streamed to the phone/tablet so the viewer doesn’t have to move), a variety of active and passive external leisure opportunities and unsurprisingly, we are now looking at a cohort of young people that is becoming less and less active.
Alliance Leisure prides itself on providing activities that challenge conventional wisdom to deliver physical activity opportunities that will attract young people into facilities. The formula is pretty obvious – by capturing the imagination of young people, facilities can be relevant, appealing and most of all, accessible to them. Our experience from the many developments we have carried out shows that developing activities which promote fun (with physical activity confined to being a by-product) attracts young people to participate.
Adventure play facilities provide a fun and active environment for young people to explore. Key motor skills such as running, crawling, climbing, jumping and swinging occur as children are at play. We see the provision of well designed play as a valuable addition to facilities as they promote physical activity and are commercially sustainable.
Auto belay themed climbing walls are a great young person’s activity that can be equally enjoyed by children and their parents. Strength, balance, problem solving, climbing, overcoming height fears are all skills that occur whilst taking part in the activity.
Our sports facilities need to evolve into family leisure destinations that offer a wide range of activities that will engage our youth of today and encourage physical activity.