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£16m dementia-friendly community and fitness hub opens in Warrington

A £16m community hub and leisure centre has opened in Warrington, Cheshire.

Operated by health and wellbeing company LiveWire, the Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub has been designed to support people with dementia and includes a fully accessible fitness suite featuring the innovative equipment and technology.

Designed in collaboration with Walker Simpson Architects, the centre's dementia-friendly features include natural and artificial lighting, special signage and floor finishes, accessible toilets and a 'quiet room'.

LiveWire hopes the centre to become the first public building in England to achieve University of Stirling’s Gold Accreditation Certificate for Dementia Design.

The centre is the result of a an extensive two-year redevelopment which has seen the integration of the region's leisure, library and health services.

The centre's health and fitness club has been kitted out with Wattbikes, Technogym Skillmills and Climbs as well as Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) equipment. There is also a functional training space supplied by Escape Fitness.

There are three dedicated group fitness spaces, one of which is a group cycling studio. Classes available at the studios include ones utilising Les Mills Smart Tech equipment, allowing gym-users to take virtual classes on the big screen without a live instructor.

Outdoor facilities include a floodlit 3G football pitch and four floodlit tennis courts.

LiveWire managing director Emma Hutchinson said: "We’ve invested a lot of time and resource getting the fit-out of the fitness suite just right, with high-end technology and state-of-the-art equipment throughout.

"It’s all part of our drive to ensure our members have access to the latest fitness equipment and technology, but without the added cost.”

Staff have received special training in order to raise awareness of dementia and the impact it can have on people, their family and friends.

“We’re proud that this is the first public wellbeing centre in our area with dementia friendly elements at the very front and centre of its construction and design,” Hutchinson added.

“We wanted this to be regarded as one of the most dementia-friendly community facilities in the UK so, from the first stages of the design process, we considered all aspects of the customer experience from lighting and layout to signage and colour scheme.

“As our ageing population increases, so will the need for accessible, dementia-friendly environments and we’re determined to lead the way in designing and building facilities that acknowledge this challenge.”

The project has been constructed by BAM, and supported with funding from Warrington Borough Council, NHS England, Sport England, Football Foundation and Lawn Tennis Association.

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A £16m community hub and leisure centre has opened in Warrington, Cheshire.
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