Category Archives for Blog Post

Melissa’s Fitness Journey Success

Two months ago, we introduced you to the wonderful Melissa St George, from Think Big Tech here at Discovery Park. Melissa has been charting her health journey and has made stellar progress towards reaching her goal of being ready for her charity abseil down the side of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower to raise money and awareness for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity on Saturday 9 May. Your Leisure's Natasha Brown discusses Melissa's success as she nears the mid-point.

If you would like to sponsor Melissa and help support SSAFA, you can visit the JustGiving page using the link https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/spinnakersupercars and reference Melissa St George when prompted.

You’ll be able to follow Melissa’s story via the Discovery Park Gym Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DiscoveryParkGym

Your Leisure: Creating Opportunities for Children to get Active

Too many children and young people miss out on the benefits of engaging in regular physical activity, be it vigorous or moderate, for the recommended 60 minutes each day. This disengagement with an active lifestyle is one of the key drivers of the increase in childhood obesity rates that, if unchecked, will lead to a major future challenge for our health services. More importantly, for the next generation, this lack of activity can lead to lower life expectancy and a lower quality of life with many experiencing issues relating to largely preventable diseases and health issues (type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bone and joint problems and more), plus, potential mental health issues due to bullying and the pressures of social media.

According to a Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health report from 2018, “Almost 1 in 5 children are [classed as being] overweight or obese when they start primary school, rising to 1 in 3 when they start secondary school.” The good news is that the impact of an inactive lifestyle can be combatted, and young people can avoid what are traditionally considered to be health issues associated with later life by being active and social. Getting out and active is not only a great way to develop physical and mental wellbeing through exercise -- improving cardiovascular health, growing strong bones and improving overall health -- they can develop and enhance social/leadership skills through sports and meeting new peers.

At our Leisure Centres, the facilities offer Junior Members and customers a range of spaces and equipment to inspire and get the best out of being active. Your Leisure is proud to be able to provide young people with a nurturing safe space, guided and aided by our experienced Junior Gym Trainers to take advantage of the opportunity to try a variety of activities, using body weight/resistance bands, resistance and/or cardio machines and classes all while having fun.

Our Junior Gym welcomes users from 8-15 years old (plus fun classes for 4-9 year olds) and best of all, families are working out together! One of our members, Clare, who attends with her daughter said: “We both have a muscle condition that affects day to day living and our mobility. We have good & bad days; Katie has had extensive surgeries over the last couple of years and the Gym was recommended by her physio. Her going made me think maybe it can help me too. We do it together, help push each other to keep going. We now use the gym four to five times a week, helping us increase muscle strength & stamina, limiting the effect of our condition. It’s also helping us get a nice figure and more confidence! We’ve met lots of lovely people, the staff are kind, friendly and always very helpful. We cannot recommend the staff and facilities enough, thank you!”

Since launching the Junior Gym, Ramsgate Leisure Centre's usership has grown from 600 active users per year to 4,100; this is a brilliant achievement and has helped so many young people enhance their health.

Signed Yoga Breaking Down Barriers

Your Leisure is proud to support our local communities and help to make an active lifestyle more accessible. This week, we are pleased to have welcomed Hannah Rzysko from Yoga Therapy For All who delivered our first “Seated Yoga” class for Thanet’s deaf community.

The feedback provided stated that the Seated Yoga session provided the opportunity to take part in an accessible activity which can help with both physical and mental wellbeing, creating a sense of calmness and relief from the stresses of everyday life.

Hannah said: “[this] was a good experience for me becoming more accessible in my practice".  To make the Seated Yoga inclusive and accessible, the session was BLS signed by Megan, who said, "This was a very good opportunity for the deaf community and will improve accessibility to activities".

The first session was sponsored by Regain Hearing, Broadstairs. Through their kind support, we were able to offer this activity free of charge. Kathryn from Regain Hearing said, "Anything that promotes awareness of hearing loss, and the more integration in our communities will help everyone’s improved understanding of living with a hearing impairment." You can learn more about Regain Hearing and their service online https://regainhearing.co.uk/

Finally, Your Leisure would like to thank St. Christopher's for allowing us to use their premises to hold the session.

After the session, the participants decided the sessions are of great benefit and to make them sustainable, they agreed £20 every 4 weeks was affordable. If you or anyone you know is interested please contact ian.barker@yourleisure.uk.com

Local Charities Benefit from Green Initiative

Margate Winter Gardens and Your Leisure are pleased to announce that following on from our decision to remove the regular Christmas crackers from 2019's Winter Wonderland nights - which contain non-recyclable plastic products - we have been able to start to make our donations to our chosen charities. Kay Byatt, Project Worker, from Speak Up CIC popped in this week to collect their cheque.

Lynne Boyd, Assistant Hospitality & Entertainments Manager, said: "It’s a great feeling knowing that we are becoming more environmentally friendly whilst at the same time supporting incredibly worthwhile local charities."

This donation was made possible due to the ethical decisions made prior to Christmas. Inspired by the successful launch of the single-use plastic elimination project at other Your Leisure operated facilities, the team at Margate Winter Gardens are on a mission to make their venue greener for the new decade; which started with the removal of “wasteful” Christmas crackers at this year’s Winter Wonderland festive banqueting nights. Instead, the money usually spent on crackers will be donated to local charities, spreading goodwill to local communities.

Each year it is estimated that Christmas crackers account for up to 154 million pieces of plastic that end up in UK landfills and potentially our oceans causing harm to British wildlife and ecosystems.

Lynne Boyd, Deputy Hospitality & Entertainment Manager at Margate Winter Gardens said: “One of the most wonderful things about the venue is the sweeping sea views. Looking out upon a Turner seascape every day, we wanted to make sure that as a coastal venue we are doing everything we can to protect our seas. This is the start of us phasing out all single-use plastic items, and products that contain single-use plastics which can end up in our waters. In 2020, we’re looking to invest in eco-friendly alternatives. Winter Wonderland is a fabulous run of dinners and welcomes thousands of guests but over previous years, our teams have thrown away far too much non-recyclable plastic from these wasteful crackers and it’s time and we’re looking at procuring genuinely environmentally friendly alternatives for the future.”

The money saved this year by not purchasing thousands of Christmas crackers is now being donated to local charities.

Throughout 2020, Your Leisure will be focusing on not only looking in at itself to improve its environmental footprint but also placing a focus on education. The Kent-based Leisure operator hopes to lead the way; educating staff and members of the local community on how to reduce their ecological footprint while enjoying life and having fun.

New PoolPod at Ramsgate Leisure Centre Offers a dignified and accessible way for people to enter the swimming pool

Your Leisure senior managers, board members and community managers along with TDC Councillors and the Mayor of Ramsgate attended Ramsgate Leisure Centre on Tuesday 14 January to officially launch the centre's brand-new PoolPod.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Rick Everitt, Deputy Leader, Councillor Helen Whitehead and Mayor of Ramsgate, Councillor Raushan Ara along joined the team from Your Leisure to mark the occasion as PoolPod represents a significant progression in providing improved accessibility to swimming. 

PoolPod is a submersible lift designed to provide dignified and independent access to the water for swimmers. Thanks to funding by the London Marathon Trust and Swim England, Ramsgate Leisure Centre aims to create an inclusive swimming environment for people with long-term health conditions, disabilities and rehabilitation needs. 

Your Leisure was able to install the PoolPod thanks to a successful funding application to Swim England and The London Marathon Trust. Due to the organisation's registered society (under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 with charitable status, Swim England and The London Marathon Trust approved the application making Ramsgate Leisure Centre one of only 20 pools in the country to provide PoolPod facilities to its members and customers. 

Ian Barker, Your Leisure’s Community and Funding Manager, said: “we are so proud to have this amazing, free to use addition to our centre. We already have had significant interest from like-minded organisations who are keen to refer their clients into the centre to use the PoolPod and therefore improve their wellbeing through swimming.” 

The PoolPod is free to use and open to anyone, for more information please contact Ramsgate Leisure Centre on 01843 585111, or click HERE to go to the Ramsgate Leisure Centre “swimming page,” or email ian.barker@yourleisure.uk.com for a free swimming voucher to try out the PoolPod.”

Local Charities Benefit from Green Initiative

Margate Winter Gardens and Your Leisure are pleased to announce that following on from our decision to remove the regular Christmas crackers from 2019's Winter Wonderland nights - which contain non-recyclable plastic products - we have been able to start to make our donations to our chosen charities. Karen Kenward from Pilgrims Hospices popped in this week to collect their cheque.

Max Rennie, Bars and Services Manager, said: "It's a great feeling to be able to donate to good causes while you know you're having a positive impact on the environment. The feedback we received off the back of this decision was positive, our wonderful guests appreciated the need to think about waste and also how local businesses going green can help support local charities."

This donation was made possible due to the ethical decisions made prior to Christmas. Inspired by the successful launch of the single-use plastic elimination project at other Your Leisure operated facilities, the team at Margate Winter Gardens are on a mission to make their venue greener for the new decade; which started with the removal of “wasteful” Christmas crackers at this year’s Winter Wonderland festive banqueting nights. Instead, the money usually spent on crackers will be donated to local charities, spreading goodwill to local communities.

Each year it is estimated that Christmas crackers account for up to 154 million pieces of plastic that end up in UK landfills and potentially our oceans causing harm to British wildlife and ecosystems.

Lynne Boyd, Deputy Hospitality & Entertainment Manager at Margate Winter Gardens said: “One of the most wonderful things about the venue is the sweeping sea views. Looking out upon a Turner seascape every day, we wanted to make sure that as a coastal venue we are doing everything we can to protect our seas. This is the start of us phasing out all single-use plastic items, and products that contain single-use plastics which can end up in our waters. In 2020, we’re looking to invest in eco-friendly alternatives. Winter Wonderland is a fabulous run of dinners and welcomes thousands of guests but over previous years, our teams have thrown away far too much non-recyclable plastic from these wasteful crackers and it’s time and we’re looking at procuring genuinely environmentally friendly alternatives for the future.”

The money saved this year by not purchasing thousands of Christmas crackers is now being donated to local charities.

Throughout 2020, Your Leisure will be focusing on not only looking in at itself to improve its environmental footprint but also placing a focus on education. The Kent-based Leisure operator hopes to lead the way; educating staff and members of the local community on how to reduce their ecological footprint while enjoying life and having fun.

PoolPod Has Landed at Ramsgate Leisure Centre

Thanks to funding by the London Marathon Trust and Swim England, Ramsgate Leisure Centre aims to create an inclusive swimming environment for people with long-term health conditions, disabilities and rehabilitation needs. 

PoolPod is a submersible lift designed to provide dignified and independent access to the water for swimmers. 

PoolPod makes getting in and out of the pool safer, simpler, quicker and more dignified than using the steps. Many different people can use the PoolPod, including people living with disabilities, living with long term health conditions, reduced mobility, customers with children, pregnant women, not to mention the PoolPod is free to use.

Our fantastic team at Ramsgate are really excited to share this amazing opportunity with you and help even more people enjoy swimming and improve their wellbeing, who perhaps felt they couldn’t before.

“We know that people who benefit most from aquatic activity – including disabled people, people with long-term health conditions, older people, people with mobility issues and pregnant women – often face the biggest barriers to accessing a swimming pool.  This exciting initiative is making swimming pools across the UK more accessible and ensuring a more inclusive customer experience for all.” - Sir Rodney Walker, Chair of The London Marathon Charitable Trust

Fitness Journey for Brave Fundraiser

New Discovery Park Gym member, Melissa St George, will be taking a huge leap for charity on Saturday 9 May as she abseils down the side of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower to raise money and awareness for SSAFA: The Armed Forces Charity.

Standing 557ft tall, Spinnaker Tower dominates the skyline of the Naval city. The tower is a popular destination for thrill-seekers looking for an adrenaline rush as they descend 100 metres down the side of the landmark. To prepare for the biggest challenge of her life, Melissa has set off on a 6-month mission to improve her physical fitness using the revolutionary BioCircuitTM at Discovery Park Gym.   

Melissa St George said: “I wanted to make a difference and support the UK’s oldest tri-military charity, the work they do is truly inspiring, and I also wanted to challenge myself in the process. I knew the Spinnaker Tower abseil would push me to my limits, so I needed support to improve my strength and fitness and that’s why I joined Your Leisure’s Discovery Park Gym to use the new BioCircuitTM.”

BioCircuitTM prescribes a personalised 30-minute full-body workout programme designed for the individual, increasing in intensity as their fitness levels improve. Melissa continued, “I was not a gym user and would consider myself very unfit. What attracted me to BioCircuitTM was the personalised 30-minute workout programme that I could easily fit into my working day and, thankfully, start off gently to ease me into my training regime.”

Melissa’s abseil takes place during the ‘Spinnaker SuperCars in Aid of SSAFA’ event on Saturday 9 May. SSAFA exists to relieve need, suffering and distress amongst the Armed Forces, veterans and their families in order to support their independence and dignity. SSAFA offers a wide range of support, from helping elderly veterans with mobility scooters, to providing things like accessible bathrooms & kitchens if needed, mental wellbeing, even helping those in the armed forces to adopt children or arranging family holidays.

If you would like to sponsor Melissa and help support SSAFA, you can visit the Just Giving page using the link https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/spinnakersupercars and reference Melissa St George when prompted.

You’ll be able to follow Melissa’s story via the Discovery Park Gym Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DiscoveryParkGym

‘Single-Use Plastic Elimination’ Project a Success

Inspired by the BBC’s Blue Planet 2, the Indoor Leisure Manager at Your Leisure, Gavid Vickers, set out on a mission to purge ‘single-use’ plastics from its centres, replacing the plastic items with compostable alternatives. Several months into the project, over 12,000 plastic straws have been eliminated from its catering operation in a bid to lessen its impact on the environment, and the company is well on its way to also removing over 100,000 other single-use pieces of plastic.

Gavid Vickers, Indoor Leisure Manager, who founded the project stated: “Blue Planet 2 was a catalyst for change. Following the airing of the Plastic Pollution episode, I set out to remove all single-use plastics from the leisure operation; with plastic straws being the first to be banned across the sites. As a business, we have a ‘do it now’ ethos, not waiting any longer to make the changes needed today.”

However, the anti-plastic project didn’t stop there. Gavid used the straws as an initial step to launch a company-wide environmental mission ‘to zero’ throughout its leisure operations.

Warren Reeves, Your Leisure Operations Manager, said, “After Gavid’s successful purge on plastic straws, it was important for the business to get behind his charge and assess its impact on the environment. Buoyed by the positive feedback from our members and local communities, Gavid is now leading the way and has expanded the scope of the project to remove a target of 100,000 items of single-use plastic products from the operation and replace them with sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives. The company provides leisure services in multiple sea-side towns, so it’s vital we do our best to protect the coast for future generations and wildlife.”

Going forward, Your Leisure’s focus is not only looking in at itself to improve its environmental footprint but also placing a focus on education. The Kent-based Leisure operator hopes to lead the way; educating staff and members of the local community on how to reduce their ecological footprint while enjoying life and having fun.

A Win For Team DITC

Congratulations are in order! Deal Indoor Tennis Manager, Vanessa Webb, has been awarded 'Honorary County Colours' from the Kent Lawn Tennis Association at their AGM.

Vanessa received this accolade for her significant contribution to Kent Tennis since taking a seat on the Kent LTA council in 2003. Vanessa is nearing the end of her 4-year term as Kent Deputy and President. She will remain on the council and continue with her roles as EK Representative to EK Clubs as well as being the Mixed League Organiser for the Kent LTA Inter-Club League. She also sits on the communications board as the County Press Officer and is on the Awards Panel.

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