Promotional feature
1Life - Total transformation in Milton Keynes

With a 10-year contract to manage five leisure centres in Milton Keynes, leisure operator 1Life is has embarked on a £1.3m investment programme to breathe new life into the portfolio


Innovation runs right through the core of the new and improved Woughton Leisure Centre, which has been given the 1Life treatment.

Having recently won a 10-year contract to manage five leisure facilities in Milton Keynes, leisure operator 1Life embarked on a £1.3m investment programme to breathe new life into the portfolio, with Woughton Leisure Centre becoming the jewel in the crown.

What was once an ageing 1970s facility on the brink of closure has been transformed into a cutting edge operation with physical activity options for all the family. 1Life has combined its exercise adherence knowledge with the guiding principles in the government’s recent Sporting Future strategy to bring the centre into the 21st century.

A clever conversion of under-utilised theatre space has seen the site become the UK’s first Group Fitness Centre of Excellence, while the complete reimagination of the gym and studios makes it the first leisure centre in the world to offer Immersive Cycling classes.

What makes 1Life’s reinvention of Woughton Leisure Centre all the more remarkable is the vast array of challenges the operator needed to overcome in creating a sustainable activity hub for the whole community.

The challenge
Milton Keynes is widely regarded as one of the toughest markets in the country for local authority operators, having one of the highest densities of private gyms in the country, in addition to soaring rates of inactivity and obesity. The city was last year dubbed “the fattest place in England” with almost three quarters of the Milton Keynes’s population overweight or obese.

According to Paul Sanders, assistant director of community facilities for Milton Keynes Council: “Woughton Leisure Centre is in an area of deprivation with a lot of social issues and it is the residents in these areas who we really want to be engaging through physical activity.”

Until recently, Milton Keynes Council had been significantly subsidising Woughton Leisure Centre and was seriously considering closing the facility in the face of ongoing austerity, despite the clear local need for accessible exercise provision. With this in mind, 1Life examined a number of different options based on the competition issues in the marketplace and also the opportunities to be creative engaging the local population.

“We just didn't feel that doing a traditional gym extension was going to enable us to achieve the council's objective, which was to maximise savings, and enable us to compete in a sustainable way in the marketplace,” says operations director Stephen Waterman.

The solutions
One of the most distinctive aspects of Woughton Leisure Centre was its old and unused theatre. Where some operators would have seen wasted space, 1Life saw the potential for a groundbreaking group exercise development.

Making use of the unique setting and its high ceilings, the operator has converted the space into the UK’s first ever Group Fitness Centre of Excellence. Boasting five studio spaces which offer in excess of 160 instructor-led classes, plus 80 virtual classes a week, the centre hosts a comprehensive range of group exercise opportunities designed to appeal to all demographics, particularly females.

Having witnessed the boom in boutique fitness in nearby London, 1Life has sought to tap into the resultant consumer demand and deliver a solution that appeals to the people who wouldn't typically use the gym. The operator has created a broad suite of options and price plans so that consumers can tap into packages that suit their particular needs.

“The vast majority of the participation that will take place at Woughton Leisure Centre will be from people within the local catchment. In addition, we're also aiming to attract customers from across the whole of Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire,” added Waterman.

“We've concentrated efforts on creating a centre of excellence, which will have city-wide scope to increase participation, and also regionally and beyond.”

The future of group fitness
As has become the operator’s hallmark, utilising the latest technology has played a central role in 1Life’s regeneration of Woughton Leisure Centre. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Group Cycling Studio, where the operator has partnered with group fitness giant Les Mills to make Woughton the first leisure centre in the world to offer a completely unique group cycling experience.

Called THE TRIPTM, this immersive fitness class takes participants on an exciting virtual cycling tour of futuristic cityscapes and alpine vistas, enhanced by the most advanced audio-visual equipment, cinema-sized screens and premium Stages Indoor Cycling bikes.

By choosing Stages bikes, 1Life benefits from exercise bikes which have instantly adjustable resistance, a console per bike and Stages Power Meters.

In time, these extra features will enable 1Life to provide more training facilities and tailored classes for local cycling clubs – helping to further establish Woughton as a community hub for all types of activity.

In addition to offering a range of Les Mills’ world-leading group fitness classes, 1Life expects to work even more closely with the fitness firm as Woughton is set to serve as a hub for Les Mills instructor training and educational sessions.

“Les Mills are proud to partner with 1Life at the revolutionised Woughton Leisure Centre,” said Les Mills UK chief executive, Martin Franklin.

“The investment and commitment to develop both their instructor team to elite level across the board and the facility will combine to create an amazing experience for the people of Milton Keynes.”

A new way of working
By eschewing the typical leisure operator approach of simply installing a new gym in favour of a range of innovative and targeted leisure offers, 1Life expects to lead a new era of emphasis on group exercise within leisure centres, offering tailored solutions for a wide range of demographics and encouraging everyone to get the most out of life. “Many authorities are now looking to partners such as 1Life to deliver these innovative ideas,” says Paul Sanders.

“This approach will ensure that leisure facilities can safeguard their future and engage ever more people in activity."


The 1Life Journey
In 2013 the company underwent a root and branch transformation which saw it change from Leisure Connection to become 1Life: an aspirational brand that puts people – staff, clients, customers and community – at its heart.

Series Roadmap
This series of promotional features outlines the raft of innovative leisure projects that 1Life has introduced as part of its new contract in Milton Keynes

CONTENTS
1. Introduction to 1Life (HCM Jan 2016, p.40)
2. How the MK contract was won
3. Transforming Woughton Leisure Centre
4. How we turned a tractor shed into a functional training hub
5. Tackling inactivity at Windmill Hill Golf Centre



PHONE: +44 (0)1480 484250
EMAIL: businessdevelopmentgroup
@1life.co.uk
WEB: www.1Life.co.uk

The innovative solutions and transformed facilities
The innovative solutions and transformed facilities
The innovative solutions and transformed facilities
The innovative solutions and transformed facilities
Working together for the future of fitness
 


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Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2016 issue 9

View issue contents

Leisure Management - 1Life - Total transformation in Milton Keynes

Promotional feature

1Life - Total transformation in Milton Keynes


With a 10-year contract to manage five leisure centres in Milton Keynes, leisure operator 1Life is has embarked on a £1.3m investment programme to breathe new life into the portfolio

THE TRIP™ - a fully immersive fitness class
The innovative solutions and transformed facilities
The innovative solutions and transformed facilities
The innovative solutions and transformed facilities
The innovative solutions and transformed facilities
Working together for the future of fitness

Innovation runs right through the core of the new and improved Woughton Leisure Centre, which has been given the 1Life treatment.

Having recently won a 10-year contract to manage five leisure facilities in Milton Keynes, leisure operator 1Life embarked on a £1.3m investment programme to breathe new life into the portfolio, with Woughton Leisure Centre becoming the jewel in the crown.

What was once an ageing 1970s facility on the brink of closure has been transformed into a cutting edge operation with physical activity options for all the family. 1Life has combined its exercise adherence knowledge with the guiding principles in the government’s recent Sporting Future strategy to bring the centre into the 21st century.

A clever conversion of under-utilised theatre space has seen the site become the UK’s first Group Fitness Centre of Excellence, while the complete reimagination of the gym and studios makes it the first leisure centre in the world to offer Immersive Cycling classes.

What makes 1Life’s reinvention of Woughton Leisure Centre all the more remarkable is the vast array of challenges the operator needed to overcome in creating a sustainable activity hub for the whole community.

The challenge
Milton Keynes is widely regarded as one of the toughest markets in the country for local authority operators, having one of the highest densities of private gyms in the country, in addition to soaring rates of inactivity and obesity. The city was last year dubbed “the fattest place in England” with almost three quarters of the Milton Keynes’s population overweight or obese.

According to Paul Sanders, assistant director of community facilities for Milton Keynes Council: “Woughton Leisure Centre is in an area of deprivation with a lot of social issues and it is the residents in these areas who we really want to be engaging through physical activity.”

Until recently, Milton Keynes Council had been significantly subsidising Woughton Leisure Centre and was seriously considering closing the facility in the face of ongoing austerity, despite the clear local need for accessible exercise provision. With this in mind, 1Life examined a number of different options based on the competition issues in the marketplace and also the opportunities to be creative engaging the local population.

“We just didn't feel that doing a traditional gym extension was going to enable us to achieve the council's objective, which was to maximise savings, and enable us to compete in a sustainable way in the marketplace,” says operations director Stephen Waterman.

The solutions
One of the most distinctive aspects of Woughton Leisure Centre was its old and unused theatre. Where some operators would have seen wasted space, 1Life saw the potential for a groundbreaking group exercise development.

Making use of the unique setting and its high ceilings, the operator has converted the space into the UK’s first ever Group Fitness Centre of Excellence. Boasting five studio spaces which offer in excess of 160 instructor-led classes, plus 80 virtual classes a week, the centre hosts a comprehensive range of group exercise opportunities designed to appeal to all demographics, particularly females.

Having witnessed the boom in boutique fitness in nearby London, 1Life has sought to tap into the resultant consumer demand and deliver a solution that appeals to the people who wouldn't typically use the gym. The operator has created a broad suite of options and price plans so that consumers can tap into packages that suit their particular needs.

“The vast majority of the participation that will take place at Woughton Leisure Centre will be from people within the local catchment. In addition, we're also aiming to attract customers from across the whole of Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire,” added Waterman.

“We've concentrated efforts on creating a centre of excellence, which will have city-wide scope to increase participation, and also regionally and beyond.”

The future of group fitness
As has become the operator’s hallmark, utilising the latest technology has played a central role in 1Life’s regeneration of Woughton Leisure Centre. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Group Cycling Studio, where the operator has partnered with group fitness giant Les Mills to make Woughton the first leisure centre in the world to offer a completely unique group cycling experience.

Called THE TRIPTM, this immersive fitness class takes participants on an exciting virtual cycling tour of futuristic cityscapes and alpine vistas, enhanced by the most advanced audio-visual equipment, cinema-sized screens and premium Stages Indoor Cycling bikes.

By choosing Stages bikes, 1Life benefits from exercise bikes which have instantly adjustable resistance, a console per bike and Stages Power Meters.

In time, these extra features will enable 1Life to provide more training facilities and tailored classes for local cycling clubs – helping to further establish Woughton as a community hub for all types of activity.

In addition to offering a range of Les Mills’ world-leading group fitness classes, 1Life expects to work even more closely with the fitness firm as Woughton is set to serve as a hub for Les Mills instructor training and educational sessions.

“Les Mills are proud to partner with 1Life at the revolutionised Woughton Leisure Centre,” said Les Mills UK chief executive, Martin Franklin.

“The investment and commitment to develop both their instructor team to elite level across the board and the facility will combine to create an amazing experience for the people of Milton Keynes.”

A new way of working
By eschewing the typical leisure operator approach of simply installing a new gym in favour of a range of innovative and targeted leisure offers, 1Life expects to lead a new era of emphasis on group exercise within leisure centres, offering tailored solutions for a wide range of demographics and encouraging everyone to get the most out of life. “Many authorities are now looking to partners such as 1Life to deliver these innovative ideas,” says Paul Sanders.

“This approach will ensure that leisure facilities can safeguard their future and engage ever more people in activity."


The 1Life Journey
In 2013 the company underwent a root and branch transformation which saw it change from Leisure Connection to become 1Life: an aspirational brand that puts people – staff, clients, customers and community – at its heart.

Series Roadmap
This series of promotional features outlines the raft of innovative leisure projects that 1Life has introduced as part of its new contract in Milton Keynes

CONTENTS
1. Introduction to 1Life (HCM Jan 2016, p.40)
2. How the MK contract was won
3. Transforming Woughton Leisure Centre
4. How we turned a tractor shed into a functional training hub
5. Tackling inactivity at Windmill Hill Golf Centre



PHONE: +44 (0)1480 484250
EMAIL: businessdevelopmentgroup
@1life.co.uk
WEB: www.1Life.co.uk


Originally published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 9

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