Innovative classes and cutting-edge equipment are resulting in more people than ever before using South Tyneside's leisure facilities with memberships at an all-time high.
Leisure centres and swimming pools across the Borough have exceeded all expectations over the last year with more than 1.26million people having used the facilities.
As a result South Tyneside is one of only 20 local authorities in the country to see a statistically significant reduction in the inactivity levels of residents aged 16 and over.
The latest addition to the Council's leisure offer includes heavy investment in cutting-edge virtual fitness. Large scale cinematic screens have been installed at both Haven Point and Jarrow Focus, allowing people to access a wider range of class disciplines at times which are more convenient to members. As a result, studio use has increased by around 35 per cent with the number of instructor-led and virtual sessions rising from 143 to 214 a week.
South Tyneside Council continues to work in partnership with global fitness brand Les Mills who gave a masterclass at Hebburn Central last year for Council fitness instructors to enable them to deliver a market-leading product to customers. The Council's commitment to virtual fitness was cited as an example of national best practice by Les Mills Regional Customer Experience Co-ordinator Richie Allan at a recent networking event held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. A further Les Mills master class is set to be delivered from Jarrow Focus in October.
Martin Eggenton, a member of the Council's leisure facilities, said: "After going a little stale, virtual classes have renewed my interest in fitness training. The classes are excellent and of a constant quality."
A two storey fitness rig - which is the first of its kind in the UK - has been installed at Jarrow Focus which enables multiple people to get a whole body workout at the same time.
Councillor Alan Kerr, Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, said: "We know that our customers look to us to provide fresh, vibrant ways of helping them to keep fit and this has driven our approach.
"By investing in accessible, affordable and innovative facilities we have been able to boost membership and retention levels, resulting in positive health, social and economic benefits for South Tyneside."
Complementing the Council's flagship centres Haven Point and Hebburn Central, Jarrow Focus was launched in January this year on the former Jarrow Community Centre site. The building, which received a £3 million makeover, now features a unique gym space, sports hall, dance studios, theatre and library. By providing high class facilities, these centres have become focal points in their respective local communities, acting as gateways to wider Council services.