BeActive Urmston: new look and name for leisure centre in Greater Manchester rescued by local volunteers

Formerly known as the George Carnall Community Hub, a group of people have come together to ensure the facility’s future and are running it on a not-for-profit basis.

A Greater Manchester leisure centre which was saved by a group of volunteers who started running it on a not-for-profit basis has been given a new look and name.

The rebranding of the former George Carnall Community Hub as BeActive Urmston has been unveiled.

The Kingsway Park leisure hub was rescued last year and now has a variety of fitness and sports facilities for the community in Trafford to enjoy.

It is hoped that the rebrand will encourage more people through the doors and give the team in charge a fresh platform to promote what it has to offer to local people.

What is BeActive Urmston?

BeActive Urmston is the leisure centre at Kingsway Park which was taken over in 2021 by a group of volunteers and is now run as a community interest company (CIC).

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It has a fully-refurbished gym featuring state-of-the-art equipment following a substantial investment in the building and facilities.

BeActive Urmston also has the area’s only squash courts and sports halls, and runs classes ranging from yoga and Pilates to boxfit and bootcamps.

The centre encourages also puts on community fitness activities including walking netball, walking football and pickleball sessions to get local people active.

How was the relaunch celebrated?

The official relaunch of the venue with its new team in charge took place on Saturday 2 July with a group of long-standing members joining BeActive Urmston staff for the rebrand unveiling.

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The official unveiling of BeActive Urmston

The launch featured taster classes giving local people the chance to try out Taekwondo, gymnastics and Boxfit, as well as tours of the new gym and exclusive launch membership offers.

The rebranding includes a new logo and a mission statement which sets out the facility’s goal “to bring together our local community with a welcoming place to go, accessible wellbeing facilities and teamwork that builds a happier, healthier Urmston”.

What has been said about the new-look leisure centre?

BeActive Urmston’s facility manager Andy Brooks said: “We’re really proud to launch BeActive Urmston, a unique centre for our local area.

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“As well as offering up-to-date, affordable and versatile facilities, we wanted to create a brand for the whole community, getting people together with a place to go, something to do and people to meet.

“We encourage anyone looking for a welcoming, supportive and professional health and wellbeing offer to see what we have.”

You can find out more about the facility here.

How did a team of volunteers end up running the leisure centre?

The transformation of the George Carnall Community Hub into BeActive Urmston started when in 2016 it was announced that it would not be viable for Trafford Council to keep running the facility, with the result that the land could have been sold off for housing.

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Distraught at this idea, a group of residents came together to fight the proposals and find a way of keeping the leisure centre open.

A consultation in 2019 found widespread support in the area for keeping the facility and discussions with the council ended up deciding that the best way forward for the building and sports pitches would be a community asset transfer (CAT).

The official unveiling of the renamed BeActive Urmston leisure centre

This was approved by Trafford Council in 2020 but negotiations and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the centre did not reopen to the public under its new custodians until June 2021.

At the time a spokesperson for the local authority said: “Trafford Council is delighted to have handed over the running of the centre to the community. The centre is now being run by the community, for the community.

“This will be an important community space and a huge asset to the local area in terms of health and wellbeing.”