Date published: 06 March 2018
HIGH numbers of overweight people and those fighting Type Two diabetes in West Lindsey were two of the major health factors behind multi-million-pound plans to transform leisure and fitness facilities in the district.
National figures reveal there are more overweight people in the district than in neighbouring Lincolnshire authority areas. Meanwhile, hospital admissions for diabetes in West Lindsey top the county chart – with worrying levels in Gainsborough South-East, Scampton, Market Rasen, Cherry Willingham and Middle Rasen.
The figures were a large consideration behind the plans to invest £7.8-million into a total revamp of West Lindsey District Council’s Leisure offer, explains the authority’s Community and Commercial Programme Manager, Karen Whitfield.
She was speaking as meetings are now due to take place with a whole host of sporting groups and organisations to take the project forward, in association with partners Everyone Active. Talks have already taken place with members of the West Lindsey Bowls Club, which currently uses a base at Gainsborough Leisure Centre during its winter season – the hall predominantly standing empty for the rest of the year. The plan is to transform that space into a major hub – not just for fitness, but for the overall lifestyle and wellbeing for all ages.
Karen explained how every effort was being made to assist the bowls club in looking at alternative venues nearby, while also including heavily discounted short mat bowls sessions for current club members within the new plans. Another meeting is planned for next week.
However, she stressed, it was vital that the authority looked at providing wide-ranging provision for all ages and the new plans – not only in Gainsborough, but in Market Rasen – would offer that. This would be enhanced by the major outreach project in more rural areas and priority wards
Predictions suggest that once developed the new Health and Wellbeing Centre at Gainsborough Leisure Centre will attract more than 400,000 visits a year. Meanwhile the Market Rasen facility, incorporating a health and fitness facility, a sports hall, and a multi-use area and 3G outdoor pitch, will have the capacity for 183,000 visits annually.
She said that, when considering the investment, members of the authority’s Prosperous Communities Committee also looked at the fact that 80 per cent of people in the district do not currently have ready access to any leisure facilities – or currently do not attend them. It was therefore pledged that the major sports outreach service be established, added Karen.
“When we look at the whole district, we see there are large numbers of people who simply do not consider taking simple steps to a healthier lifestyle, and that is not just about what activity they do, but also about their diets and how they look after themselves,” she said.
“We must act now to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle for all those who enjoy living in West Lindsey. We see how our population is due to grow also, and we must look at how we best serve the needs of our people both now and in the future, whilst also support our impressive Invest programme,” added Karen.
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