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Dover District Leisure Centre celebrates first anniversary at the top of its game

Leisure Centre 1st anniversar

Over half-a-million visits cement popularity of leading Kent leisure centre

The Dover District Leisure Centre is celebrating its first anniversary at the top of its game. Over half-a-million visits have been made to the £26m leisure centre which opened on 25 February 2019, with residents from across the district and beyond flocking to use the state-of-the-art facilities, including Kent’s only county-standard competition swimming pool.

Membership is up a staggering 379% compared to the old Dover Leisure Centre, with an average increase of 367% in monthly footfall. Over 90% of members surveyed said they would be highly likely to recommend the centre to a friend or family member.

Responding to the level of demand, Places Leisure, who run the centre in partnership with Dover District Council, has increased the frequency of some of the most popular activities and added more choices to keep up with demand.

  • 190 weekly instructor-led and virtual workout classes catering for all ages and exercise abilities
  • 1,125 people, mostly children, taking part in the centre’s Swim England accredited swimming lesson programme
  • 145 budding gymnasts enrolled on the centre’s new gymnastics programme
  • Aqua inflatable assault course introduced in May 2019 and now running every weekend, and mid-week during the school holidays
  • Healthy Weight Programme launched to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight in a supportive group setting
  • Value-for-money holiday camp running over the school holidays from Monday to Friday, at a cost of £20 per day per child
  • The centre has hosted several charity events, including its own National Fitness Day event, raising thousands of pounds for charities including Dementia UK and Children in Need
  • Dover District Leisure Centre is the only one of Kent’s 31 leisure centres to hold an ‘A’ rating on its Energy Certificate, the highest rating for a building’s performance based on energy use and carbon emissions. 
  • Built by BAM Construction, the Dover District Leisure Centre is a finalist for Construction Project of the Year at the Kent Invicta Chamber Business Awards

The Dover District Leisure Centre also provides employment for 138 members of staff, including eight apprentices.  Apprentice, Hannah Ribbans, said: “I love being part of the successful team at the Dover District Leisure Centre. There’s a real community feel at the centre where people of all ages can enjoy fitness and activities together. The apprenticeship scheme has given me the confidence and support to pursue my passion for fitness."

The Leader of Dover District Council, Cllr Trevor Bartlett, said: “One year on and the Dover District Leisure Centre has proven a resounding success. The membership figures speak for themselves and the centre is easily covering its costs while providing an important hub for the local community to meet, get fit and enjoy their leisure time.”  

Tony Crafer, Contract Manager for Places Leisure, said: “It’s been an incredible first year and we’re absolutely delighted with the response from members which has exceeded all our expectations.  We will continue to work with our members to expand our offer and facilities for everyone to enjoy.”

Notes to editors

  • Facilities at the Dover District Leisure Centre including a 25m x 17m 8-lane competition standard swimming pool; a 15m x 8.5m learner pool with a moveable floor; four court sports hall; Clip ‘n Climb interactive climbing arena with 16 different challenges; 120-station gym and fitness suite; aerobic fitness studios (x2); spin studio; multi-purpose studio; glass-backed squash courts with spectator seating (x2); outdoor floodlit five-a-side 3G pitches (x2); sauna and steam room; café, and free parking for 250 vehicles, including electric charging points.
  • A key part of Dover District Leisure Centre’s sustainable travel plan is to promote public transport.  In conjunction with Stagecoach, Dover District Council is offering local residents a free month’s mega-rider ticket* if they travel to the leisure centre by bus. More details are available at
Posted on 25 February 2020


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