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Wadebridge Leisure Centre's future secured

Last October, Wadebridge nearly lost its leisure centre when Greenwich Leisure Limited (‘Better’) announced their decision to close its doors. However, the Wadebridge Leisure Centre had some powerful friends!

Amanda Pennington, mayor of Wadebridge and Friend of Wadebridge Leisure Centre

From what started as a protest group of passionate locals, a marvellous team of experts emerged and secured the leisure centre’s continued existence as a community interest (CIC) company for the community.

The group received support from Olympic Gold medallist Callum Jarvis, who has trained in the leisure centre’s pool in the past, and from Andy Jameson, the well-known Commonwealth Games presenter, who gave a shout out during this year’s Commonwealth Games to the success of the community’s acquisition of the centre.

A proactive member of the group is Amanda Pennington, Wadebridge’s very own Mayor. Amanda told Wadebridge Life that after the closure announcement was made in October, the community campaign group were able to submit an expression of interest in November, followed by a full tender under very competitive conditions.

After months of negotiations, their group - which became known as ‘Friends of Wadebridge Leisure Centre’ - won the contract on 8th July. This is fantastic news for Wadebridge to ensure a positive community centre that perhaps, most importantly, gives the community access to a pool.

Amanda said: “A total of 11 primary schools use this pool to teach local children how to swim.”

She added that due to the pandemic, many children haven’t had access to swimming lessons, an important skill for local children to acquire considering the huge influence the coast has on Cornish community and culture.

Amanda continued: “We have also partnered with Wadebridge School, and we aim to make sure that the schools get maximum use out of it.”

It is clear that this new facility will be ‘run by the community, for the community and benefiting the community’.

Wadebridge Leisure Centre

Amanda explained how their aim is to continue to build a welcoming facility for local sports and community clubs and to ‘make sure everyone is equally valued’.

The positive plans continue into the consideration of the sustainability of the new sports centre. Amanda explains how they plan to ‘reduce their reliance on hydra-carbons’, and that they have been exploring the idea of a ground source heat pump or a district heat scheme for both the centre and the secondary school to reduce costs for both organisations.

After months of uncertainty, it was a huge relief for the existing staff to finally know that their jobs were safe. The Friends of Wadebridge Leisure Centre officially took over the running of the centre on 1st September. The team is ‘motivated and excited’ for the leisure centre’s new chapter!


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