Memberships on increase, says provider

Ponteland Leisure Centre.
Ponteland Leisure Centre.

More Northumberland residents are using leisure and sport facilities, according to new figures, but memberships have dropped in Morpeth and Ponteland.

Active Northumberland, which manages leisure facilities on behalf of the county council, has reported a year-on-year increase in memberships since taking over.

The total number of memberships in November this year was 10,672, up from 10,566 at the same point in 2015. However, there are large increases in memberships at leisure centres where there was major investment, while many others, especially in the north of the county, saw a decrease.

Memberships more than tripled in Ashington, while in Cramlington, they rose by 42 per cent, to 1,185 this year, but in Morpeth, they dropped from 1,143 to 856 and in Ponteland from 1,060 to 762.

Chief executive Lorraine Dewison said: “It’s fantastic to see that memberships are up overall across the county. Our new multi-site membership scheme means our members have access to leisure facilities in all areas, regardless of the centre where they initially sign up.

“Now memberships are no longer tied to individual centres, we are hopeful that the upward trend in memberships will continue to spread even further throughout the rest of Northumberland as we announce the next round of investment in services in the new year.

“Active Northumberland acknowledges that we still have a number of sites which require refurbishment or new provision.

“We are currently liaising with the council regarding exciting plans for the future of our centres and we’ll be unveiling more details very soon.”