Farnham Leisure Centre back up and runningBy Laura Nightingale
October 22, 2010
A FAMILY fun day and the launch of a free swimming scheme for children and the elderly marked the opening of Farnham’s revamped leisure centre.
On Saturday, Jeremy Hunt, MP for South West Surrey, officially opened the new-look centre, which took almost one year to complete and cost £5 million to refurbish.
Mr Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, spoke to hundreds of people last weekend and invited them to join a number of free sporting activities to mark the celebration.
South Farnham county councillor David Munroe said: "The atmosphere was brilliant, buzzing and full of people of all ages and fitness levels.
"Judging by the number of people who attended, the re-furbishment, a modest word to describe the new facilities, will be a roaring success."
£5 million refurbishment
The old centre was well used but had noticeably aged. In particular, the reception and non-sport facilities were cramped and tired-looking.
Facilities in the gym were also falling behind those offered by other sports centres in the area.
At the weekend, youngsters enjoyed football, trampolining and face painting, with many visitors taking part in taster sessions of boxfit, core fit and group cycling in the gym.
Cllr Roger Steel, responsible for leisure at Waverley Borough Council, said: "The transformation is tremendous."
Under-eights and over-80s swim for free
During the last year, a two-storey extension was created at the front of the centre to provide a bigger, lighter reception area, a café and an expanded fitness suite on the first floor.
Work also included refurbishing changing rooms, activity rooms, squash courts, a dance studio and both swimming pools.
In partnership with DC Leisure, which operates it on behalf of the borough council, the centre will offer under-eights and over-80s free swimming during general use, lane and family session times until December 31.
Cllr Steel said: "With refurbishment of the pool, free swimming is a great way to explore the excellent leisure facilities Waverley has to offer.
"For the under-eights, learning to swim is important as a life skill and while building confidence in the water, they are also taking part in regular exercise."
Free swimming for those aged 16 and under and 60 and over had been offered in the borough earlier in the year as part of a scheme funded by the government.
However, in June, the coalition announced this would stop and Waverley’s free swimming for those age groups ended on July 31.
As part of the refurbishment, around £5,000 was spent on extending the main pool by four centimetres to make it suitable for competition use.
The six-lane pool, built in 1981, had always been considered as a 25-metre pool until the Amateur Swimming Ass-ociation, during the revamp, approached the centre’s management.
The swimming group asked if it could use the venue for galas, and following routine checks, it was found that the pool fell just short of the standard 25m length.
The centre’s revamp was part of the borough council’s multi-million pound project to improve leisure facilities in the area. Farnham and Cranleigh centres have both been revamped and Godalming’s will have a new build next year.