Lottery-funded gym set for expansion

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:02 22 October 2010

A Lottery-funded gym in north Norfolk is to be extended to cater for the overwhelming number of members - which has far exceeded expectations.

A Lottery-funded gym in north Norfolk is to be extended to cater for an overwhelming number of members which has far exceeded expectations.

The Victory Swim and Fitness centre in North Walsham was intended for 475 members when it was built two and half years ago, but now has more than 1,000 signed-up regulars.

An additional 16 exercise machines are planned for the gym on Station Road to relieve queues on the current 31 'fitness stations' that include rowing, step and running machines.

North Norfolk District Council has approved the 100 sq m expansion plans, which are due to be finished by September.

Julie Thompson, council member in charge of sport and leisure, said one of their aims was to get more people involved in sport, in line with government targets.

She said: "We want to encourage more people to be fit and healthy.

"It's absolutely brilliant that people are using the facility.

"The fact that only two and half years after the gym was built there is a need to extend it shows the need was already there. It creates a healthy and active community."

She said one of the most popular programmes was a GP referral scheme whereby doctors sent patients to be supervised by trainers to overcome aliments such as bad backs.

The project is currently running at its 40-person capacity but the new work will allow it too expand.

And building work will cause no disruption to the running of the gym as it was specially designed to make an extension simple.

Victory general manager Stuart Jardine said: "There are two long windows going from the floor to the ceiling and they will just come out when the extension is finished, to join it up with the current gym."

The facility - which also has an aerobics room, used for fitness classes and activities such as karate, and a 25m swimming pool - was built using a combination of Lottery money and local investment, after 20 years of campaigning and fundraising by the North Walsham Swimming Pool Committee.

Around £3m of the required £4m came from Sport England, the Lottery's sports branch.

The money for the new extension is being put forward by DC Leisure

which runs the centre on behalf of the council.

Gym membership ranges from a single at £360 to a family rate at £620 per year.

It is open seven days a week.

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