Brimhams Active celebrates first birthday this Yorkshire Day

Brimhams Active - Harrogate Borough Council's community health and wellbeing company – is celebrating its first birthday this Yorkshire Day (1 August).

Since being launched last year, Brimhams Active has gone from strength to strength, despite the challenges faced by ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

In the last year, Brimhams Active had more than 1.4million visits and now has some 2,500 members - up from around 1,500 last year. There are also now around 1,800 Learn to Swim members, taking part in more than 9,000 swimming lessons collectively each year.

Turkish Baths Harrogate had a positive 12 months in the year of its 125th birthday, with more than 43,000 visits - an increase of 208 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The baths are a popular destination for visitors and locals alike and offer a unique heat experience with the addition of modern spa treatments to enhance the customer experience.

Councillor Stanley Lumley, chair of the board of directors at Brimhams Active, said: "Brimhams Active is committed to enabling people to enjoy physical activity in ways which meet their needs. To do this we have an unprecedented level of capital investment to upgrade our facilities, coupled with an incredible team working towards the delivery of an ambitious vision and strategic plan.

"It is clear from our early successes that we are on track to achieve our goals, create a healthier more active population that lives longer, more independent and happier lives.

"This is just the start of a fantastic journey for Brimhams Active."

Natalie McGuire, director of business development at Brimhams Active, said: "At Brimhams Active, we're transforming from a conventional leisure operator to a health and wellbeing company with a mission to help people across the Harrogate district move more, live well and feel great.

"We have a fantastic team of people - that will benefit from a number of development and training opportunities - that will help deliver this and ensure we can meet the needs of our existing and future customers.

"This won’t be just through great facilities, which the borough council are continuing to invest in. It will also be through sitting down with all our customers and asking them 'what are your health and wellbeing goals?' to ensure we can truly support both their physical and mental wellbeing."

One scheme that is helping to deliver this is Brimhams Active's Fit4Life adult weight management programme that aims to promote healthy eating and physical activity to achieve healthy weight loss. Collectively losing more than 1,200 pounds in weight.

John and Karen, participants in Fit4Life, said: "Both being very overweight, we spent a year walking every day, up to seven miles, and controlling what we were eating. There was no weight loss which resulted in us giving up. After speaking to the doctor, it was suggested that we join Fit4life.

"We downloaded the nutrition booklet and joined the exercise classes which kept us motivated. We averaged one pound a week loss, and after we lost five per cent of our weight, we started attended the gym. This offered us a great incentive to try even harder. We alternate the gym and swimming every day and cannot express how grateful we are to have this opportunity. We still have weight to lose but believe we're on the right path for the first time in a long time."

Brimhams Active also provide another scheme for people undergoing treatment, after treatment or recovering from cancer, known as Fit4Future.

Andrea, a Fit4Future participant, said: "Stage four lung cancer spread to liver and lymph nodes. I had no surgery, just chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The treatment made me feel very tired, and I actually couldn't do any exercise at all. I found everyday activities a real struggle, due to lack of energy, motivation and just feeling weak all the time.

"The exercise sessions have helped me enormously. My fitness levels and muscle strength have increased. I feel stronger and more confident to do everyday things.

I've made lots of new friends through the exercise classes, and believe the social aspect of the sessions are just as important as the exercise itself. I find the sessions fun and enjoyable, and this motivates me to keep attending."

Looking ahead, Brimhams Active has a number of priorities, including;

  • introducing and embedding a fully developed five ways to wellness offer
  • further develop partnerships locally and nationally
  • implement a comprehensive people learning and development plan
  • efficiently enable the shift from a fitness to a wellness service
  • introduce an industry leading corporate wellness programme for employees

To support Brimhams Active's aims and objectives, the borough council have committed to a significant investment programme that is progressing well. This includes;

  • a new facility leisure and wellness centre in Knaresborough which will provide a six-lane 25metre pool, activity pool with flume, sauna and steam room, fitness suite and studio, spin studio, café, electric car charging points, bicycle storage and large modern play area.
  • the existing gym and leisure facilities at the Hydro are currently being refurbished, along with the introduction of a new diver platform, a 400sqm fitness suite, a new sauna and steam suite, and improved reception and café.

Opening earlier this year (April), a new six lane 25-metre pool at the Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre in Ripon is being enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors. This will be complemented by an extended gym, refurbishment of the original leisure centre, two new activity studios, a spin studio as well as meeting facilities in the future.

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Published: 1st August 2022