Staff work overtime to ensure revamped gym is fit for its big day (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Staff work overtime to ensure revamped gym is fit for its big day
STAFF at a council-run gym in Darlington gave up their time to help make sure it was ready to re-open on time after a month-long refurbishment.
The extended gym at the Dolphin Centre opened for business on Monday (March 4) following a much-needed makeover.
Thousands of pounds have been invested in the facilities’ first full refit in nearly 20 years.
Bosses say the reaction from customers has been overwhelmingly positive, with record numbers of new members signing up.
The refit includes 75 new machines, extended floor space and improved lighting.
Work on finishing touches was ongoing as the gym reopened, with three weights machines still to be added.
Mike Crawshaw, head of leisure for Darlington Borough Council, said the gym reopening was a boost for the whole leisure centre.
He said: “There is a real buzz about the place and the staff feel a real sense of ownership of the project.
“Most of them came in to work in their own time on Saturday and Sunday, unpaid, to support and help get things ready.”
Asked about the new facilities, Mr Crawshaw added: “I am absolutely thrilled with the place, it has opened on time and feedback from customers has been first-class.
“What has been pleasing is that the feedback has come from a range of customers in different age groups.”
By mid-afternoon on the gym’s first day back in business, word had spread that it was open again and the place was bustling.
Mr Crawshaw said staff will have to manage admissions at key times to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to use the machines.
He said: “We had always had to manage footfall, particularly in the post-Christmas period.
“That normally subsides by Valentine’s Day, but with the increased interest we will have to look closely at access, but everyone will still be able to do what they need to do.”
Gym user Shirley Fidell, 39, spoke to The Northern Echo before starting her work-out in the new facilities.
She said: “I am thrilled, it looks great and there is such a difference.
“I loved it before the makeover, it is the staff that make it what it is, and it had everything I need, it was just perhaps not as modern as some of the other gyms.
“But that has all changed now and I can’t wait to start training here.
“I’ve used other gyms in Darlington but keep coming back here – I like the support and information on offer from staff.”
For more information, call the Dolphin Centre on 01325-388406, email email@example.com or visit darlington.gov.uk/memberships