Dolphin Centre gym refurbishment will put 'more bums on seats'

'NO SACRED COWS': Head of leisure Mike Crawshaw

'NO SACRED COWS': Head of leisure Mike Crawshaw

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (Darlington)

COUNCIL bosses hope the month-long refurbishment of a leisure centre gym will have long-term public health benefits for Darlington residents.

Although the gym at the Dolphin Centre will close for a facelift on Monday (February 4), temporary gym facilities – with reduced admission fees - will be in place during the upheaval.

Mike Crawshaw, head of leisure for Darlington Borough Council, which runs the centre, hopes the refurbished gym will be a key tool in increasing activity levels.

Last year, a Sport England survey revealed that only 24 per cent of Darlington’s adult population exercise regularly.

Mr Crawshaw said the refit of the gym – which will include 75 new machines, more floor space and improved lighting – will be cost-effective for the cash-strapped council.

He explained that the cost of the work would be off-set by the increased number of people that will be able to use the expanded facilities.

Mr Crawshaw said: “The refurbishment will allow more customers to use the gym – put more bums on seats.

“We are the most accessible fitness venue in the town – anyone can use us on a pay-as-you-play basis.

“The money we are using to invest in the fitness suite is paid back – and more – by the fact that we will be able to enable more people to use the gym, more often.

“It is based on increased admissions.”

Mr Crawshaw said the ultimate cost of the development had not been finalised, but called it a “significant investment” in a facility which had its last full re-fit in 1994.

As well as casual visitors and members who pay monthly, the gym welcomes 6,000 people per year who have been referred there by their GP for conditions such as obesity and high blood pressure.

Last month, council chief executive Ada Burns admitted there were “no sacred cows” as the authority looks to make savings worth more than £14m in the coming years, on top of the £24.4m of cuts already identified.

Asked about the future of the centre, Mr Crawshaw said: “I do not feel relaxed at all, it is entirely correct that there are no sacred cows.

“The Dolphin Centre has got to continue to extend its use by Darlington residents to ensure that municipal leisure still plays a strong role in the community.

“As leisure people, we are convinced it fulfils a critical function in the town and plays a part in community cohesion – there are 37 clubs based here.

“It is at the heart of Darlington. Does that make it exempt from this financial position? Absolutely not.”

Comments (5)

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4:32pm Wed 30 Jan 13

the-big-yin says...

The residents of Darlington cannot afford to pay the cost of using this gym..
Why do they not make it cheaper to use?
Times are hard for all and more tax payers cash being spent on this waste of space.
It seems to be only those with cash or are pensioners who can afford to use council run gyms.
vote these councilors out who are spending cash on projects like this while cutting front line services........
The residents of Darlington cannot afford to pay the cost of using this gym.. Why do they not make it cheaper to use? Times are hard for all and more tax payers cash being spent on this waste of space. It seems to be only those with cash or are pensioners who can afford to use council run gyms. vote these councilors out who are spending cash on projects like this while cutting front line services........ the-big-yin
  • Score: 0

5:40pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Homshaw1 says...

It's a bit worrying that the work is about to start but they are not sure how much it is going to cost.

I think the cost is OK for most people but can be a prohibitive for people on local income with children
It's a bit worrying that the work is about to start but they are not sure how much it is going to cost. I think the cost is OK for most people but can be a prohibitive for people on local income with children Homshaw1
  • Score: 0

5:48pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Madadrian says...

Big yin
I and my wife are pensioners and certainly cannot afford to use the Dolphin centre. Our taxes of almost a thousand pounds a year go to subsidising 'fun' for the already wealthy in Darlington and surrounding areas.

The local authority should not be in business using our money extorted under threat to subsidise it.
Big yin I and my wife are pensioners and certainly cannot afford to use the Dolphin centre. Our taxes of almost a thousand pounds a year go to subsidising 'fun' for the already wealthy in Darlington and surrounding areas. The local authority should not be in business using our money extorted under threat to subsidise it. Madadrian
  • Score: 0

9:20pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Darloresident says...

In the above article Ada Burns says there are no "sacred cows" when looking at savings..

Well I know one that should be looked at...
In the above article Ada Burns says there are no "sacred cows" when looking at savings.. Well I know one that should be looked at... Darloresident
  • Score: 0

9:26am Thu 31 Jan 13

BMD says...

Was Ada refering to herself or is her position off limits?
Was Ada refering to herself or is her position off limits? BMD
  • Score: 0

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