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  • Dementia-friendly leisure hub expects one million visits in 2018

    An £18m (US$23.5m, €20.7m) neighbourhood hub with a state-of-the-art leisure centre is being developed with a focus on being dementia-friendly.

    The 6,500sq m (70,000sq ft) Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub in Warrington, Cheshire, is set to open early next year and the leisure centre will be operator LiveWire's first dementia-friendly facility, projected to attract one million visits per year.

    Leisure facilities will include a 120-station fitness suite, group exercise studios, a dedicated group cycle studio, a sports hall and outdoor training facilities including tennis courts. It will also feature two swimming pools, sauna and steam rooms and private treatment rooms.

    Built to meet the needs of an ageing population in Warrington, the hub has been designed to allow in as much daylight as possible and high levels of artificial light in corridors. Signage and furniture will be kept simple and clear in order to avoid causing confusion.

    The project has been developed by Warrington Borough Council in collaboration with LiveWire, Sport England, the Lawn Tennis Association, Stirling University, Warrington Dementia Alliance and Warrington Disability Partnership.

    LiveWire’s business development director Locklynne Hall told Health Club Management the gym will have a quiet zone specially designed for people with dementia and that staff have received extra training.

    “Staff have been through a dementia-friendly training programme so they recognise signs and symptoms of dementia,” said Hall.

    He said instructors have been working with the local mental health hospital so the gym can offer low-impact circuit exercise and walking group programmes.

    The two-storey building will also have an integrated cafe and library on the ground floor – aspects crucial for wellbeing, said Hall: “Research shows libraries help with wellbeing and have a positive impact on people.”

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