Award-winning Hebburn Central is celebrating its first birthday this week...and a host of successes.
The £13m facility was opened a year ago by the former mayor, Councillor Richard Porthouse and Paralympic gold medal-winning swimmer Josef Craig (MBE).
Since its opening, the state-of-the-art centre has become an integral part of the local community.
The venue has already won three awards and been shortlisted for a fourth.
Hebburn Central includes a six-lane swimming pool, a learner pool with bubble pools, sauna and steam room, fitness suite, sports hall, dance studio, soft play area, library, learning centre and cafe, as well as meeting rooms, a customer service centre, local police help point and an outdoor multi-use games area.
Since opening there have been over 221,000 leisure admissions and 2,232 new leisure memberships. Book loans have increased by 31 per cent compared to the same period in the old building, the number of new library lenders has more than doubled and there has been a staggering 369 per cent increase in people logging on to the public computers.
Councillor Richard Porthouse, Chair of the Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF), said: "We built this fantastic building because we wanted to give the people of Hebburn facilities fit for the 21st century and provide a focal point for the whole community.
"It has achieved all that and more and we are delighted with its success to date.
"The council's investment in this facility is already paying dividends by triggering further private sector investment, with Aldi confirming its plans to bring a new supermarket to the town centre.
"Hebburn Central was the catalyst needed for breathing new life into our town."
The venue has received recognition for both its architectural design and its role in the community, winning the Royal Institute of British Architects North East Award 2016 and Building Project of the Year in the Constructing Excellence in the North East awards; and a 'Special Award For Community Impact and Engagement' in the Civic Trust Awards.
It has also been shortlisted in this year's British Construction Industry Awards in the Building Project of the Year (£10m to £50m) category.
Schools, community and specialist groups are all taking advantage of the facilities, with activities such as Baby Bounce, Story Tots, a disability reading group, and arts and craft classes all taking place on a weekly basis.
Local people also have access to nutritional advice, physical activity classes, support to stop smoking and free health checks as part of the Change4Life programme.
Cllr Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: "Hebburn Central is not only a first-class leisure facility but an important community and social venue which is having a real impact on the health and wellbeing of residents.
"The fact that this has been reflected with a national Civic Trust award is something we are extremely proud of.
"It has exceeded all expectations, becoming a popular and vibrant attraction in the town and reinforcing that Hebburn is changing."