A Change to Leisure at intu Eldon Square
Published on 13/08/2014

If you exercise, play sport, or take part in activities at Eldon Leisure then from Tuesday 1st July a new organisation will be running these facilities and services.

North Country Leisure (NCL) is a not for profit charity based in Hexham, which manages major leisure sites and services across Northumberland and Cumbria.

NCL have secured the long term asset transfer after a competitive process and major consideration was given to the quality of the services to be provided as well as the cost to council taxpayers. The new arrangement will not only ensure that the buildings will remain open to the public, but will also be run at no cost to the council.

Some work to enhance and improve these popular facilities will likely take place within the first 12 months. The new provider will also carry out a further review of the facilities and services, including regular consultation with local residents and centre-users about the programmes and range of activities on offer.

Plans are in place to invest £3 million to create a new ‘leisure destination’ at Eldon Leisure, where families and friends can take part in a wide choice of activities not currently available in the city centre. By changing the use of some spaces and reconfiguring others the intention is to attract more visitors and non-users to the centre whilst also adding to the experiences on offer for existing customers.

The new Eldon Leisure will include three areas dedicated for health and fitness; a large fitness gym with new equipment, a state of the art indoor cycling studio and a new multi-purpose studio to accommodate a range of classes and activities, enhancing the existing programme.

The remaining spaces in the building will be converted to offer a new hub for family leisure and entertainment, catering for people of all ages and abilities. For younger children there will be an indoor adventure soft play area with a café, plus an adventure climbing (VerTgo) facility for older children and adults to enjoy.

The biggest development will be the addition of an eight lane tenpin bowling centre and café, expected to open later this year.

All works are planned to take place with limited disruption to normal services, with prior notice to work starting and aim to keep the building open while works are taking place.

Due to Government funding reductions, these city council leisure services were at risk of closure. Newcastle City Council made the move to keep these services open by offering these facilities to be transferred to another provider under strict conditions. NCL were able to progress with asset transfer of these sites and are committed to investing large sums to improve facilities to encourage more usage and turn them into flagship centres of the North East.

Two new leisure cards will also be introduced along with a choice of membership packages to offer the best possible prices. The beActive Leisure Card will give up to 25% off standard prices whilst the beActive PLUS card is available for people in receipt of certain benefits to gain discounts of up to 50% on each activity and membership packages. People who already have an Active Newcastle card will be able to get a discount of up to 10% off activities at the transferred centres and will still give Newcastle residents up to 25% off activities at other city council leisure facilities, such as East End Pool, Walker Activity Dome, Newburn Activity Centre, Elswick Pool and Centre for Sport.

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