Accessible and inclusive leisure facilities delivered across the borough, with new complex a step closer

Image showing a girl underwater, smiling at the camera, wearing a pink swimming costume and swimming cap.

Care home residents living with dementia are benefitting from new health and wellbeing opportunities.

This includes activities such as swimming and chair pilates thanks to a new partnership between a Surbiton home and Kingston Council’s leisure services provider Places Leisure. 

Providing inclusive and accessible leisure and wellbeing services for the borough’s residents is a key part of the council’s commitment to reduce inequalities and create a fairer borough. Places Leisure, who were recently named outstanding organisation of the year at the UK Active Awards, is working in partnership with the council to deliver a programme of wellness-boosting activities across the borough. 

As part of this programme, a Royal Star and Garter resident living with dementia has been using the Malden Centre pool to enjoy swimming again. The sessions have been so successful that the Places Leisure team is now working to create a Dementia friendly aqua class at the centre, as well as further swimming taster sessions for older people to extend the opportunity to others. In addition, an instructor from the Malden Centre has been visiting the care home to deliver chair based pilates to the residents, and pottery sessions will be available for the residents to enjoy at the pottery studio in the Malden Centre.

Places Leisure is also delivering other targeted sessions such as the Malden Centre’s over-60's keeping fit and toned class - which has grown from 15 members to 50, all up on their feet, performing whole body movements with weights and stomping their to the latest chart toppers. 

Accessible and inclusive facilities also remain at the heart of the council’s proposals for the new leisure complex in Kingston town centre. The new facility continues to make steady progress with procurement of the design and multidisciplinary teams now complete. 

Using the UK Leisure Framework, Kingston Council has brought on board Alliance Leisure to oversee delivery of the project. Their multi award-winning team has delivered over 230 leisure developments across the country. They have since appointed award-winning architect Roberts Limbrick, a leading contributor to the design of commercial and public leisure facilities for over 25 years, to bring a revised building design to life. 

The design team will be working with community stakeholders, potential future users and internal colleagues over the coming months to ensure that the new design meets their needs, with a number of public update sessions in the new year and engagement on the proposed designs later in Spring 2024.

Cllr Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for for Economic Development & Leisure, said:

“One of our key priorities is to create a borough where all of our residents have the opportunity to enjoy the facilities we have to offer. Taking part in things they love, dipping their toe into something they might like or just trying something completely new, is an important part of that.

“Working closely in partnership is crucial as we look to improve what is available across Kingston, and listen to what our communities are telling us they need. 

“Accessible and inclusive spaces for all will still form a large part of the design for our new Kingston leisure complex, and delivery of this new facility is a top priority. I am pleased we  have a highly experienced team in place that understands what we are looking to achieve, the budget we have and the facility mix our residents have told us they would like to see.”

Tom Fairey, Development Director, Alliance Leisure, said:

“Having developed over 200 leisure projects, our role is to use this experience to lead a team of best-in-class experts to develop an outstanding new leisure facility for Kingston. We are looking forward to shaping a new, sustainable and inclusive leisure centre that meets the needs of the local community providing long lasting improvements in physical and mental health and wellbeing.”

Published: 20th November 2023