A £1.5m project to refurbish facilities at Birchwood Leisure Centre gets underway this month. The scheme, designed and delivered by Alliance Leisure, will upgrade the tired centre with a host of new facilities to meet the demands of existing users and drive growth.

Operated by Active Nation on behalf of City of Lincoln Council since 2007, the centre has also begun to outgrow its facilities with overcrowding in the gym and studio space unable to accommodate the expanding programme of classes.

The improvement programme, funded by City Of Lincoln Council, includes a new gym which increases the number of stations from 30 to 100 with new equipment, a larger free weights area and small group training space. It also includes the region’s first fully immersive group cycling studio from Les Mills with a cinema-scale screen and sound system.

A new soft play area and XHeight Adventure Climbing facility will allow the centre to increase its exercise offerings for children and expand its party packages giving it greater reach in the family market, while the Shapemaster power-assisted exercise studio, the city’s first, provides an opportunity to develop its work in rehabilitation, exercise referral and care for older people.

A new Costa ‘Proud to Serve’ café along with a new display area for the local RAF 50 & 61 Squadron Association memorabilia completes the refurbishment project, which Active Nation believes will increase its membership base from 1,000 to more than 2,000.

“The redevelopment gives us an opportunity to appeal to a new market of users who can’t fulfil their activity needs with the current facilities. The Birchwood community has had to travel outside of its immediate catchment for any activities beyond a basic fitness provision, but they will soon have a first class exercise experience with activities appealing to all age groups right on their doorstep,” says Mark Learnihan, Business Development & Partnership Director at Active Nation.

Tom Fairey, Senior Business Development Manager at Alliance Leisure, says: “This investment by the City of Lincoln will create a modern, affordable and sustainable leisure centre that will bring innovative new health and leisure facilities to a wider group of users from the local community and will save money for the council and taxpayer in the long term.”

Councillor Donald Nannestad, Deputy Leader of City of Lincoln Council and Portfolio Holder for Health and Recreational Services, said: “The modernised leisure centre will provide fantastic new facilities for Lincoln, and offer something for everyone all under one roof, creating more opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to get active.

“This is a significant investment by the city council in its aim to bring health benefits and opportunities to our residents and other leisure centre users. It’s brilliant to see work begin on site to deliver these exciting improvements.”