Leisure centre in the running to be country’s best

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WITH its gym, swimming pool and vast array of fitness classes, Fareham Leisure Centre is not just an ordinary leisure centre.

In fact, it has been shortlisted as being one of the best in the country.

Fareham has made it to the finals of the industry’s toughest awards, competing against over 4,000 leisure centres to be ranked in the top 15. The Flame Awards are run by UK Active, formerly known as the Fitness Industry Association.

Ian Cook, contract manager for Everyone Active in Fareham, the company that runs the leisure centre in partnership with Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘It’s a fantastic achievement to have got through to the finals on six successive years.

‘It demonstrates that we consistently provide a very high quality of service to our customers.

‘We’ve won the top prize before so we’re keen to repeat that performance this year.’

This is the sixth year in a row that Fareham has made it to the finals, narrowly missing out on the top spot last year.

Luke Sweeney, fitness manager at the centre, said: ‘This year there is tough competition but we’ve got what it takes to win. It’s one of the biggest accolades you can get, so if we can bring this home then we are all well and good.’

Earlier this year the centre became the first in the country to achieve the Quest Stretch assessment with an excellent score.

Executive member for leisure Cllr Connie Hockley said: ‘I’m delighted that the leisure centre has been shortlisted.

‘It’s recognition of the hard work of the staff and the fantastic facilities. With around 5,000 people using it every month, I’m sure the team will be working hard to keep up this high standard. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for them.’ Disabled veteran Richard Hunt uses the gym at the centre as he is in training for a round-Britain kayak race next year, in aid of the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association.

He said: ‘We took my son to swimming lessons there, so we became accustom to the friendly atmosphere.

‘When I decided to do this challenge, I was immediately drawn to the centre because of its equipment for disabled people.

‘The staff are all helpful. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.’

The winners will be announced at the UK Active Ball of Fire, held in Telford on Wednesday, July 3.