Visitor numbers soar to over a million at flagship Council leisure centre

The RIBA London East Award shortlisted Britannia Leisure Centre in Shoreditch attracted more than one million visits in 2022, as membership numbers continue to increase and people of all ages in the local community are given the opportunity to lead healthier and more active lives.

The state-of-the-art facility, which is operated by GLL ‘Better’ in partnership with the Council, is part of the wider Britannia project and located next to Shoreditch Park. It features stunning rooftop pitches with panoramic views, two first-class swimming pools, a leisure water area with flume, a gym, stunning fitness studios and a cafe and toilets that also serve the park.

In the first six months of operation from August 2021 to February 2022, the centre attracted nearly 400,000 visits, compared to 149,671 at the old centre in the same period in 2019, representing an increase of 161%, despite the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. With over a million visitors in 2022, nearly 12,000 people now registered as either direct debit or “pay and play” members, and 118 fitness classes a week taking place, the success of the centre continues to grow.

The centre team has also focused on engaging with the local community and helping groups to gain access to the centre. Local families using the nearby Ivy Street Family Centre have benefitted from better access to the centre, as well as donations towards its new building. Many local families in need have been supported through Britannia’s Giving Tree appeal, which provided gifts to children who might not otherwise receive one. Concessions are accessible at the centre for people over the age of 60, as well as for students and people with disabilities or in receipt of benefits.

Alongside the Council, the Britannia team has also been working with the Black Swimming Association on its Blue Hour programme, helping to improve the safety and confidence in the water of people from Black and Global Majority backgrounds. A lot of work has also gone into making the centre more accessible to those with additional needs, through its facilities, detailed accessibility guides and inclusive programming. 

Latest figures also show that 93% of users are using sustainable transport to visit the centre. Of those, 88% are travelling on foot or by bicycle. According to an independent report produced by 4GLOBAL’s Social Value Calculator, the Britannia Leisure centre has the highest ‘Social Value’ of any facility GLL operates across the UK.

Cllr Caroline Woodley, Cabinet Member for Families, Parks and Leisure

The continued success of the Britannia Leisure Centre is fantastic news and in just a few short years it has become one of the most-loved community fixtures for those who live in the local area.

The evidence shows that the centre is encouraging people to stay healthy and active, with people of all ages, all abilities and from different backgrounds able to access its amazing facilities, providing huge benefits for people’s physical and mental health.

Cllr Caroline Woodley, Cabinet Member for Families, Parks and Leisure

Since opening its doors in summer 2021, Britannia Leisure Centre has gone from strength to strength and now welcomes over 70,000 visitors each month.

As a charitable social enterprise, GLL exists to demonstrably improve health and wellbeing in local communities and this is exemplified at Britannia where social value has reached £98 per customer. Both GLL and Hackney Council sit at the heart of public service delivery and with the addition of the community we very much see ourselves as a three way partnership.

The award winning facility – which has also played host to arts and cultural events – is both accessible and inviting and successfully spans all demographics from toddlers through to retired adults. It shows what is possible when we work strategically to target raising physical activity levels as a priority and the borough is already starting to reap these rewards.

Peter Bundey, CEO of GLL

The Britannia Leisure Centre has also been noted for its stunning architecture by FaulknerBrowns - the facility being shortlisted for the RIBA London East award comes on the back of winning the overall prize at the NLA Awards, the NLA Culture prize, the Architect Journal’s Community Impact of the Year award, the Ukactive Concept, Build or Design of the Year Award and the UK Pool & Spa Water Leisure Venue of the Year Award, to name just a few.

The leisure centre was delivered directly by Hackney Council through its in-house, not-for-profit building programme – part of the wider Britannia project that also includes a brand new secondary school for the City of London Academy Shoreditch Park, and hundreds of new homes, including homes for genuinely affordable social rent and shared ownership.

Book a visit to the Britannia Leisure Centre