Disability changing facility upgrade in progress!

Works are well underway in our Disabled Changing Facilities which will qualify for Changing Places (u) status.

Watch this space for a completely upgraded changing space and shower cubicle to provide a better, more efficient changing space to our customers.

This is a joint funded project between Maidstone Leisure Trust, Swim Mobility, Maidstone Borough Council and Serco.

Exciting accessibility enhancements coming to Maidstone Leisure Centre

Over £30,000 worth of accessibility enhancements are coming to Maidstone Leisure Centre to complement the existing facilities, helping disabled users get more from their time at the centre. Work on the improvements will begin 25th February.

Maidstone Leisure Centre already has one pool hoist, which helps people get in and out of the pool, plus a range of other accessible features, like large automatic doors, all floors being lift accessible, and guide dogs being welcome on site.

The planned additions will include an improved disabled changing area, which will qualify for changing places (u) status, a shower changing room with wet and dry seats and two new pool hoists.

These new facilities have been joint funded by Maidstone Leisure Trust, Maidstone Borough Council, Serco and Swim Mobility, the disabled swimming club based at the centre.

Dispelling The Rumours

The Future of Maidstone Leisure Centre – Dispelling the Rumours

For several months now rumours have been circulating that Maidstone Leisure Centre is set to be demolished. Despite the efforts of Maidstone Borough Council to set the record straight the rumours continue to circulate and, on each telling, seem to translate into something worse; recently the word is that the land will be used for housing. There is no foundation to these rumours which have largely been sparked by inaccurate articles in the local press, but they have been unsettling both for staff who have concerns over their jobs and careers, and for those considering investing in improvements and developments at the Leisure Centre.

Therefore, the Maidstone Leisure Trust, who run the leisure centre, has decided to issue this statement explaining the actual situation and would encourage any interested party to point others towards it and, if further clarification is needed, to contact the Trust directly at info@maidstoneleisure.org.

History

First a bit of history to explain where we are today and how we got here. In the early 2000’s, for a variety of reasons, local authorities were busy divesting themselves of responsibility for running many of their facilities and subsequently outsourcing the provision to other operators. Against this backdrop, in 2007 Maidstone Borough Council put the running of the Leisure Centre out to tender and the recently formed Maidstone Leisure Trust, under the chairmanship of Paul Alcock at the time, was awarded the contract in partnership with Serco Leisure. In 2009 the contract was re-tendered to take account of changes in the regulatory framework and the Maidstone Leisure Trust/Serco Leisure partnership was again awarded the contract with a 15 year lease to give all parties the opportunity to make plans and investments with the security of a fixed, longer term operating period. Since that time, in line with the operating agreement, there has been significant investment in the Leisure Centre by both Serco and Maidstone Borough Council and the Trust has been re-investing its share of operating surpluses into the development of sport and active leisure around the borough of Maidstone.

What’s in the Pipeline?

Fast forward to 2018/19 and, with around 5 years remaining on the lease, the time has come for all interested parties to begin the review process in readiness for the end of the current contract period in 2024. As is always the case under these circumstances, the end of a contract period gives all parties the opportunity to review and plan to make sure that the council tax payers of Maidstone are continuing to benefit from the best facilities possible within the constraints of funding, local resources and local need. Consequently, a review of the current facilities (both the leisure centre itself and the wider provision of sport and leisure facilities in the Maidstone area) sits alongside plans and wishes for how the future of sport and active leisure in Maidstone is to develop over the coming years. As far as Maidstone Leisure Centre is concerned, whilst the building itself is showing signs of age, the facilities on offer, especially the range of water-based pools and activities, are amongst the best in Kent and there is no appetite whatsoever for reducing the breadth of this facility. The question is how to maintain and build on it.

It is absolutely right that Maidstone Borough Council should now be reviewing the future direction of the Leisure Centre alongside its wider plans for the provision of sport and leisure facilities in Maidstone. This they are actively doing and they will undoubtedly, and rightly, be considering all options and consulting widely. Maidstone Leisure Trust is fully supportive of MBC in this process, is committed to help develop their plans, and will be tendering for the new Leisure Centre contract in 2024. In the meantime, investment in the Leisure Centre continues with a significant planned re-furbishment of the gym and the installation of improved disabled facilities under the Changing Places scheme. Both of these initiatives require significant finance and neither would be happening were there any expectation of the imminent closure of the Leisure Centre.

So we ask those responsible for circulating unsubstantiated stories in the local community to step back and look at the quality of leisure and sports provision that the town has to offer. The Leisure Centre is and will continue to be, central in that provision so we invite everyone to support us and take part in the forthcoming consultation process to ensure that the residents of Maidstone get the best sport and leisure facilities possible.

For more information about Maidstone Leisure Centre please visit www.maidstoneleisure.com
For more information about Maidstone Leisure Trust please visit www.maidstoneleisure.org

Thank You
Clive Bradburn
Chairman – Maidstone Leisure Trust
January 2019

Box Fitness 55+ Free Taster sessions

Free Box Fitness 55+ taster sessions at Maidstone Leisure Centre.

Box Fitness 55 +

 

 

 

Box Fitness 55+ with Olympia Boxing

Boxing Fitness 55+ is designed for all abilities and fitness levels. It’s great fun.. get’s you fit, controls weight management, builds strength, coordination, improves confidence, helps socialise and meet new people!  

Our new exciting programme for the Maidstone Community has been created off the back of our successful Boxing For Parkinson’s programme. BOX Fitness is great fun for all ages, abilities and is catered for all. 

Olympia Boxing are offering 3 FREE taster sessions at Maidstone Leisure Centre

Wednesday 12th December – 2-3PM

Wednesday 16th January – 2-3PM

Wednesday 30th January – 2-3PM

@olympiaboxing / wayne@olympiaboxing.co.uk

Could you volunteer with our sports and activity clubs?

Some of the groups and clubs which take place at Maidstone Leisure Centre are in need of volunteers.

Could you give some of your time to support them? Please get in touch with our Community Development Officer, Gabs: gabrielle.kay@serco.com

Winners – Dementia Friendly Kent Awards!

We are very pleased to have won the Sports and Leisure award and have been a finalist in the Community and Partnership Project award category for our work with the Alzheimer’s Society and Kent Sport at the Dementia Friendly Kent Awards last week!

Invicta Grammar Personal Opportunities Programme

Invicta Grammar School offer their pupils a Personal Opportunities Programme (POP) which allows them to enjoy a wide range of enriching Co-Curricular experiences. Every Wednesday afternoon students are able to try new and different activities to enhance their school experience and personal development.

This year, we are offering a varied instructor led exercise class to offer the opportunity to find aspects of fitness that they enjoy and could continue into adult life. It will also help to develop confidence and self-esteem.

We are looking forward to developing our relationship through the POP sessions.

Dementia Friendly Kent Awards Finalists!

We are thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted in the Dementia Friendly Kent Awards! Maidstone Leisure Centre is a finalist in the Sports and Leisure Organisation Category and our Younger People’s Activity Group is a finalist in the Community and Partnership Project Category.

We will find out how we have done at the Awards afternoon on Friday 5th October.

Young Activity Dementia group

Our Young Activity Dementia group occurs on the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month and is a complete mix of sport, exercise and physical activity.

Despite the funding of these sessions coming to an end, we are continuing these – until Christmas at least! We have had a really positive response to this group in terms or feedback, support… and even an award nomination. Maidstone Leisure Centre is also working towards becoming a more Dementia Friendly environment with over 60 members of staff trained as Dementia Friends.

We are currently looking for male volunteers to help support the sessions. Please get in touch (gabrielle.kay@serco.com), if you are interested in this.