Customer Success Story
A Gym for the Community by the Community
Funded by a grant of over £350,000 from Wigan Council, the historic Pelican Centre in Tyldesley has benefitted from the creation of a new gym and a multi-functional community hall to complement its swimming pool offering.
Used as a storage room for the last thirty years, the billiard room, part of the original 1920’s to 1960’s cinema and billiard hall, was transformed into a 110 sq m fitness facility showcasing a selection of equipment from leading fitness equipment supplier and manufacturer Precor, including four Next-Generation treadmills, a corner Queenax functional training unit and various dual use resistance pieces. Shower and changing rooms have also been built along with a mezzanine level that features a multi-functional meeting room/community hall and classroom.
The centre, managed by a group of Trustees who formed to save the pool from closure five years ago, has been run by volunteers over the last four years. Nick Caplin, Director of Participation from the Amateur Swimming Association officially opened the new gym and community hall extension with local MP Andy Burnham in attendance, and guests from CIMSPA, ASA and the Institute of Swimming. A separate open weekend was held for members of the community providing them with the chance to tour the facilities and benefit from gym inductions.
Maths and English lessons will be offered for both children and adults utilising the new classroom and there are plans to hold a ‘pop-up’ restaurant over a few evenings. The centre is working with various organisations, including True Colours CIC which works with children and adults with disabilities, providing facilities and activities for people with autism and various disabilities. One area of focus for the gym will be working with veterans and older people encouraging them back into exercise while also enabling them to mix within the community. A Friday night junior gym session is also offered, and in order to encourage younger members to participate at the centre, the aim is to start a Friday night youth club.
Natalia Stothard, Business Manager at The Pelican Centre, said: “We had a fantastic response from the community telling us this is exactly what the area needs.
“Two regular local residents, who have lived in the area all their lives, and were involved in all the public meetings to prevent the closure of the facility five years ago, said they didn’t think they would see this in their lifetime. They visited the cinema as children and young adults before settling down with their own families. They told me ‘they are proud to have attended the meetings over the closure and shown support for the Pelican Centre so it will be available for future generations’.”
Trevor Barton MBE, chair of the trustees at the centre, comments: “This latest development means we can offer so much more to the residents of Tyldesley, from enhanced opportunities to get fit and healthy, to a range of adult social care and young people’s services – all under one roof and right on their doorstep.”
Stothard continues: “The new development is an excellent asset to the community and has been greatly received. Local residents have supported the centre since 2012 and there has been lots of excitement for the new gym and community hall. The staff and I are extremely proud of the new facilities and are looking forward to a busy time catering to a wider range of our community.”
Justin Smith, Head of UK at Precor, comments: “This is a great example of a community working together to provide local people with a much needed affordable gym in order to promote health and wellbeing. The gym has been located in underused existing space and will be, along with the multi-functional hall/classroom, a community-based asset hub for all ages and used by different local groups and businesses.”
The cost per month to use the gym is £20 or £15 for concessions.