Significant numbers of overweight people and those fighting Type Two diabetes in West Lindsey were two of the major health factors behind multi-million-pound plans to transform leisure and fitness facilities in the district.
National figures reveal there are more overweight people in the district than in neighbouring Lincolnshire authority areas. Meanwhile, hospital admissions for diabetes in West Lindsey top the county chart – with worrying levels in Gainsborough South-East, Scampton, Market Rasen, Cherry Willingham and Middle Rasen.
The figures were a large consideration behind the plans to invest £7.8-million into a total revamp of West Lindsey District Council’s Leisure offer, supported by local Conservatives.
West Lindsey District Council is now holding meetings with a range of sporting groups and organisations to take the project forward, in association with partners Everyone Active. Talks have already taken place with members of the West Lindsey Bowls Club, which currently uses a base at the West Lindsey Leisure Centre, Gainsborough during its winter season – the hall predominantly standing empty for the rest of the year. The Conservative-led council's plan is to transform that space into a major hub – not just for fitness, but for the overall lifestyle and wellbeing for all ages.
Every effort is being made to assist the bowls club in looking at alternative venues nearby, while also including heavily discounted short mat bowls sessions for current club members within the new plans. A spokesman for West Lindsey District Council Conservative Group said:
“Conservatives committed in the manifesto to 'ensure that any future Leisure Contract represents maximum value for local taxpayers, when the current contract comes up for renewal in 2018.' It was vital that the local authority provides a wide-ranging provision for all ages and the new plans, not only in Gainsborough, but in Market Rasen, will offer that. This would be enhanced by the major outreach project in more rural areas and priority wards."
Predictions suggest that once developed the new Health and Wellbeing Centre at Gainsborough Leisure Centre will attract more than 400,000 visits a year. Meanwhile the Market Rasen facility, incorporating a health and fitness facility, a sports hall, and a multi-use area and 3G outdoor pitch, will have the capacity for 183,000 visits annually. The spokeman continued:
“When considering the investment, Conservatives on the Prosperous Communities Committee looked at the fact that 80 per cent of people in the district do not currently have ready access to any leisure facilities – or currently do not attend them. It was therefore pledged that the major sports outreach service be established.
“When you look at the whole district, you can see there are large numbers of people who do not consider taking simple steps to a healthier lifestyle, and that is not just about what activity they do, but also about their diets and how they look after themselves.
“We are committed to encouraging residents to be, and building communities that are, more active and healthy. The new Leisure Contract is a moment to make a step change and we must act now to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle for all those who enjoy living in West Lindsey. We know how our population will grow and as we look to serve the needs of local residents both now and in the future.”