...with so much more to come in the next 10! We are proud to have worked in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council to create healthier communiteis. Here are just some favourite highlights from the past decade...
Halo Leisure moved into Wales, winning the contract to manage the council leisure centres across Bridgend County Borough Council and launching the Halo Sport Foundation to support athletes in the county.
By the end of the first year we’d totted up 238,000 gym workouts, 261,000 swims, 18,500 swimming lessons, 74,000 group exercises classes, 14,000 sports hall and racket sport bookings … and a whole county discovering the joy of exercise and relaxation! Plus we were working with the National Exercise Referral Scheme in the county to help people tackling or recovering from ill health via one-to-one support in our centres.
Our multi-million-pound refurbishment of Bridgend Life Centre was complete and opened with a new reception, cafe and library as well as a gym, exercise studios, refurbished sports hall and a brand-new indoor climbing wall, a JumpINGym soft play area, a toning suite, spa and new community meeting place. Plus we opened new facilities at Garw Valley Life Centre!These included a new library, two new gyms, an exercise studio and indoor sports hall. This was followed by the introduction of a 3rd generation, all-weather outdoor facility at the centre, made possible by a Sport Wales Development Grant.
Bridgend County Borough’s leisure centres thrived, with thanks to a whole range of ongoing initiatives and events. Among our favourites in 2015 were the launch of Halo Sports Stars (a programme for 3 – 11 year olds), MEND (workshops to promote healthy weight in children), a welcome to the Ospreys who came in to sign fans memorabilia while they enjoyed arts, crafts and rugby coaching sessions, the Girl Academy (teen workshops to build self-confidence and physical and mental health), and of course Free Swimming - a Welsh Government funded project which saw over 19,000 attendances in the under 16 sessions in 2015 and over 80,000 in the over 60s sessions! We know we have a role to play in the health of the counties workforce. We also launched an employee wellbeing programme in Wales and one of the companies, Sony Tec in Pencoed were well ahead of the game concerning the wellbeing of their employees. This initiative earned us the Outstanding Achievement Award at the UKActive National Flame Awards for the impact Halo has had on the workforce. Halo Sport Foundation supported 9 Welsh local athletes who represented Wales in the Commonwealth Games including athletics, para cycling, triathlon, lawn bowls, swimming and netball. Aled Davies MBE and Team Wales Captain was one of them.
Our GP Referral Scheme went from strength to strength and had seen over 3000 people formally signposted by their doctors benefitting from exercise and support.
Karl Paterson picked up Halo Manager of the Year in 2017 and there is good reason to mention this here. He exemplifies Halo's mission to combine in-centre support with outreach work. On Karl's watch in 2017 over 40% of the work was outreach, supporting kids’ clubs in the Valleys and working with older people in their community and via new, innovative provision in our centres. It might have started with knitting and craft clubs but it expanded brilliantly.
We also launched Halo Club Links
to support sports clubs serving young people in the county via workshops covering everything from recruitment to advertising, coach education to volunteer management.
Quest - the leading quality assessor for the leisure industry - came into Wales and we picked up an 'excellent' Quest mark as a top performing team for the difference being made to local people.
We launched our hugely successful and ongoing #MoreThanJustAGym campaign, were finalists in the Community Leisure UK Awards (for our new Feel Good for Life Dementia Friendly Activity Programme
) and we opened the doors to the new Wellbeing Hub at Bridgend Life Centre. A £650,000 investment from community partnerships created a new repurposed space which is used by partners from the Council, Health Board and voluntary organisations to deliver health and wellbeing support services.
Meanwhile our innovative Olympage Games (launched by the aforementioned Kar Paterson) saw more than 150 older residents and people with disabilities take part in activities to improve physical health and to tackle isolation and loneliness.
Our Feel Good for Life
Programme grew and grew and we also picked up more funding this year for our ongoing Mobile Falls Prevention programme
to support those vulnerable to accidents who live in Care Homes or Sheltered Housing. It is amazing work that has made a massive impact on the risk of debilitating falls.
Of course this was the year Covid hit, but Bridgend Countys Halo Leisure teams were not to be deterred. They joined our halo@Home
initiative recording favourite classes so people could stay active at home, supported outreach work and, after lockdowns, they worked tirelessly to prepare centres across the county to ensure new, safe ways of working and working out in 2021 and 2022. And you came back in your thousands, thank you!
We proved ourselves not only survivors of the Covid crisis, but key to others managing the ongoing restrictions via our virtual offers and community support and of course work with the county’s Vaccine teams who used our centres for their programme. We were on the road to recovery and busy refurbishing our changing rooms at Bridgend Life Centre, and making swimming pools at Pencoed and Ynysawdre accessible for people with mobility issues to enter and exit the water by installing Pool Pods.
We launched our Government-funded Winter of Wellbeing programme to help young people across the county recover from the impact of the pandemic. Plus we announced refurbishment plans for Maesteg Sport Centre and Pyle Swimming Pool. And, of course, we celebrated 10 years in Bridgend Borough County!