CHANGING FOR THE BETTER AT THE REC

12 Aug 2009

Bridgend Recreation Centre’s new £300,000 state-of-the-art swimming pool ‘changing village’ has been officially opened.

Swimmers have been enjoying the new facilities for the last 10 days but today (Wednesday 12 August) the changing village was officially opened by Councillor Lyn Morgan, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing.

He was joined by the Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, Councillor Mel Nott, the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough Councillor Jeff Tildesley and representatives of the Sports Council for Wales.

Bridgend-born Lee Byrne, the Wales, British and Irish Lions and Ospreys fullback and fellow Wales, British and Irish Lions and Ospreys prop Adam Jones were special guests.

The VIPs were invited to tour the refurbishment, which has taken 20 weeks to complete, and was jointly funded by Bridgend County Borough Council and the Sports Council for Wales.

It now offers a spacious and well-equipped place for swimmers to change, shower and store their belongings.

Councillor Morgan said: "I think everyone has been impressed with the new facilities. I have heard extremely positive feedback from the people using the changing village and it really has made using the pool at Bridgend Recreation a much more enjoyable experience.

"Customers and staff have been extremely patient throughout the refurbishment. I think we can all agree it has been worth the wait. My thanks go also to our partners within the Welsh Assembly Government and the Sports Council for Wales for their generous support in helping to fund this important project.

"It shows our joint commitment to providing the residents of Bridgend County Borough with the highest quality opportunities to live active and healthy lives and recognises the importance of swimming to all. This investment is also part of our longer term vision that local people will be able to access the services that they need to improve their health and wellbeing and create a more active society.

Philip Carling, Chair of the Sports Council for Wales, said of the SCW’s £185,000 investment: "This refurbishment to Bridgend Recreation Centre is the latest in a long line of projects that have been developed across Wales and will be of enormous benefit to the local community and Bridgend as a whole. Everyone should have the opportunity to swim and keep physically active and I’m confident that these new facilities will motivate not only people with disabilities but also young people and adults."

Lee Byrne was also full of praise for the new facility.

He said: "I used to come to the Rec 10 years and I remember the changing rooms being quite small so I can really see a big improvement. It’s so important to have excellent facilities like these. It’s really good for the borough."

Adam Jones added: "This is really good for the local kids to have. Keeping fit is vital these days and it’s important that we offer facilities that they want to use."

Councillor Morgan also cut a ribbon to mark the new Technogym equipment, unique Wellness computer software and refurbished facilities at Bridgend Recreation Centre. The facility is also available at Maesteg Sports Centre and Ynysawdre Pool and Fitness Centre.

The new four-stage induction process allows expert staff to match individual lifestyles against the amount and type of recommended exercise. Each user will receive specific Wellness keys that can be inserted into the new equipment for a personalised exercise programme that tracks progress and marks improvements in health and fitness levels.

Visitors will be able to use their Wellness keys at any of the three facilities and can view their progress online by logging onto www.bridgend.gov.uk

The new Wellness system also has the unique ability to manage GP referral and cardiac rehabilitation customers more effectively, and can implement fitness programmes for anyone with special requirements and work with school groups or individual young people.

CASE STUDY:

Georgia Stevens, aged 61, from Litchard is an early morning swimmer at the Recreation Centre. She is also registered disabled.

Georgia said: "The new changing village is brilliant. The cleanliness is excellent and the facilities are great. It has made such a difference in using the pool. I have to say that throughout the changeover the staff bent over backwards to accommodate us and now that it is all refurbished it is fantastic. It is very ‘disabled-friendly’ – and I’ve been pleased with the way people like myself have been consulted throughout because we now have really well-thought out facilities. Well done."