KEYS to the Wadebridge Sports &Leisure Centre were officially handed over on the September 1 and the facility is now being run by a Community Interest Company called the Friends of Wadebridge Leisure Centre (FOWLC).

The FOWLC were able to access the facility overnight on the August 31 with lots of community volunteers turning up to work hard until the early hours; cleaning, jet washing the pool, painting, resetting the gym equipment and generally transforming the centre in time for its first day of operation.

“We could honestly not have asked for a better start, with everyone pulling together to make this a success,” says Scott Tudge, the FOWLC Chief Operating Officer who will be overseeing the centre staff day to day. “Public goodwill is at an all-time high and we have been listening and talking to our community to make sure that we are offering what people want.

“Memberships and centre use are going very well, and we are grateful for the much-needed donations we have received to help cover initial capital expenditure, but we are not out of the woods yet. We just found out that we face a two-fold increase in our electricity tariff which is twice as much as the October 2022 domestic rate, so we really need to press on with our energy-saving plans. It’s another £100,000 that we need to find, which takes us well over our contingency budgets.”

The FOWLC was only appointed in July 2022 and since then they have:

- Launched a new website and booking app

- Reinstated the telephone line so you can once again ring up and speak to a member of the team

- Employed two new members of staff to meet the growing demand

- Implemented an apprenticeship scheme for a new starter and agreed to training for an existing member of staff to be able to offer Aqua Fit classes.

- Issued new staff uniforms and gave all the centre staff a complimentary membership to use the facilities themselves.

- Signed up 40 new members in the first 2 days alone, with a further 50 new enquiries.

- Successfully transferred 800 existing members across from GLL/Better.

- Made a home for two new sports clubs including indoor cricket training and a martial arts school, taking the total to thirteen clubs now actively using the centre.

- Set up three new fitness classes starting in the fitness studio on Thursday, September 8 offering Yoga, Bodyballet and Dance Cardio. The FOWLC are actively looking for more instructors, to be able to widen the fitness class timetable further.

- Organised a grand opening at the Wadebridge Sports & Leisure Centre on Saturday, September 17 for the whole community to come and tour the centre with lots of taster activities and mini challenges on offer.

FOWLC will also be launching a Crowdfunding campaign to raise £1m to cover the capital investment needed to transform the swimming pool plant to make it energy-efficient and sustainable, and to upgrade the sports centre to improve the 40-year-old facilities.