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Group fitness instructors – positive feedback


Active Nottingham earns prestigious global health and safety award from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)

dark blue background with light/translucent gold starbursts dotted around the graphic. Over the top is the Rospa logo. underneath the logo are the words "Rospa Award Winner" #rospawinner2024.

Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council – Sport and Leisure, has fought off global competition to win a prestigious RoSPA Award, demonstrating its commitment to health and safety excellence.

Active Nottingham achieved their sixth consecutive Gold Award in the Leisure Safety category.

The esteemed RoSPA Awards program now celebrates its 68th year as the UK’s largest and most impactful health and safety programme. With almost 2,000 entries annually from over 50 countries, impacting over seven million employees, they offer a platform to spotlight an unwavering commitment to continuous improvement and excellence in health and safety.

Whether entrants seek non-competitive excellence recognition or vie for competitive awards across 32 industry sectors, the RoSPA Awards provide an unparalleled opportunity to stand among leaders shaping safer, healthier workplaces.

As of this year, the RoSPA award entry process can be used as reflective practise to contribute to continuing professional development (CPD).

Health, Safety and Training Manager for Active Nottingham, Sport and Leisure, Tom Bartley said: “Receiving this award for the sixth year in a row is truly a remarkable achievement. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of every member of our team.

“Everyone has played a crucial role in upholding our commitment to health and safety at all six of our sites. It is a result of our collective efforts to prioritize safety above all else, and to continuously strive for excellence in this area.

“I would like to extend our gratitude to every member of our team for their hard work and dedication. This award belongs to everyone, and we will continue to work together to ensure that safety remains our top priority at all times.”

Julia Small, RoSPA’s Achievements Director, said:

Workplace accidents don’t just pose financial risks and operational disruptions; they significantly impact the quality of life for individuals. This is why acknowledging and rewarding excellent safety performance is vital.

“We congratulate Active Nottingham for winning a prestigious RoSPA Award and showing an unwavering commitment to keeping employees, clients and customers safe from accidental harm and injury.”

Sponsored by Croner-i, the RoSPA Awards scheme is the longest-running of its kind in the UK, and receives entries from organisations across the globe, making it one of the most sought-after achievement awards for the health and safety industry.

Ben Chaplain, Managing Director at Croner-i, said:

We are proud to sponsor the RoSPA Awards for a second year, which emphasises our dedication to prioritising health and safety—an essential foundation for lasting success and wellbeing at work.”

Notes to Editor(s)

 Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre. Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre.


What’s new at Harvey Hadden Sports Village

Exciting News: The Fitness Class Programme at Harvey Hadden Sports Village is getting a makeover. 

Mark your calendars for Tuesday 2 April 2024! Harvey Hadden Sports Village Fitness Class programme is getting a fresh update.

We’ve listened to your feedback on our current programme and redesigned it to suit your needs better. Get ready to experience a new and improved workout routine.

Book an activity/session now – click here to get started.

Easter Half Term holiday activities

We have something for everyone to enjoy this Easter, so come and join us at Active Nottingham for some fun and active sessions.

Please note, that the information shown below was correct at the time of going to print. Always check the live timetables for any alterations before making any journeys.

Clifton Leisure Centre: 


Choose from Swim for All with Flume, Swim for Fun or Notts Splash Tots this half term:

Monday 1, 8 AprilTuesday 2, 9 AprilWednesday 3, 10 AprilThursday 4, 11 AprilFriday 5,12 AprilSaturday 6, 13 AprilSunday 7, 14 April
1st April - Closed

09:30 - 10:15
Notts Splash Tots - 8th only
(Leisure pool)
09:30 - 10:15
Notts Splash Tots
(Leisure pool)
09:30 - 10:15
Notts Splash Tots
(Leisure pool)
10:30 - 11:15
14:30 - 15:15
16:15 - 17:00
17:15 - 18:00
18:15 - 19:00
Swim for Fun/All with Flume
(Leisure pool)
16:15 - 17:00
17:15 - 18:00
Swim for All with Flume (Leisure pool)
09:15 - 10:00
10:30 - 11:15
Swim for All with Flume (Leisure pool)
10:30 - 11:15
13:15 - 14:00
Swim for All with Flume (Leisure pool)
10:30 - 11:15
14:30 - 15:15
16:15 - 17:00
17:15 - 18:00
18:15 - 19:00
Swim for Fun/All with Flume - 8th only
(Leisure pool)
10:30 - 11:15
14:30 - 15:15
16:15 - 17:00
17:15 - 18:00
Swim for Fun/All with Flume
(Leisure pool)
10:30 - 11:15
14:30 - 15:15
16:15 - 17:00
17:15 - 18:00
18:15 - 19:00
Swim for Fun/All with Flume
(Leisure pool)
13:30 - 14:15
Swim for Fun
(Main pool)
09:00 - 09:45
Swim for Fun
(Main pool)
13:30 - 14:15
Swim for Fun - 8th only
(Main pool)
13:30 - 14:15
Swim for Fun
(Main pool)
13:30 - 14:15
Swim for Fun
(Main pool)

Pre-booking is required and bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. The times and information provided were correct when going to print and may change without notice. For up-to-date timings, please click here.

Little Treasures Soft Play 

Bring your little ones to the under-the-sea adventure at our two-story play frame packed full of challenges. Let them unleash their imagination, build their physical skills, and make lasting memories in this exciting and unique play environment. Suitable for toddlers as well as children, with different designated areas to keep everyone on the hunt for treasure!

Pre-booking is required. Bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance via the Active Nottingham app or here.

Birthday Parties

Don’t forget to enquire today about our birthday parties at Clifton, we even have an amazing party room to make your child’s birthday extra special. With a range of children’s party packages available, Clifton is the perfect choice for your celebrations.

Djanogly Community Leisure Centre: 

Join friends and family at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre this half term with their Swim for Fun (1m depth), Swim for Ladies and Kids (1m depth) and Swim for All (1m depth).

Monday 1, 8 AprilTuesday 2, 9 AprilWednesday 3, 10 AprilThursday 4, 11 AprilFriday 5, 12 AprilSaturday 6, 13 AprilSundays 7, 14 April
1st April - Closed08:15-09:15
Swim for All
Swim for Fun
Swim for All
Swim for All
Swim for Fun
Swim for Ladies and Kids
Swim for Fun - 8th only
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun

Swim for Fun
Swim for All
Swim for Fun
Swim for All - 8th only
Swim for Women and Girls
Swim for All - 7th only

Pre-booking is required and bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. The times and information provided were correct when going to print and may change without notice. For up-to-date timings, please click here.


Ken Martin Leisure Centre: 

Swim for Fun:

Pop along to Ken Martin Leisure Centre this Half Term with their Swim for Fun sessions.

Monday 1st, 8thTuesday 2nd, 9thWednesday 3rd, 10thThursday 4th, 11thFriday 5th, 12thSaturday 6th, 13thSunday 7th, 14th
1st April - Closed

Swim for Fun - 8th only
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun

Pre-booking is required and bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. The times and information provided were correct when going to print and may change without notice. For up-to-date timings, please click here.

Harvey Hadden Sports Village: 

Pool Parties and Pool Discos

Pool Party: a swimming session for children, young people and families. With toys, floats, inflatables and music.

Pool Disco: the ultimate party for under 14’s! This activity is suitable for ages 8+

Monday 1, 8 AprilTuesday 2, 9 AprilWednesday 3, 10 AprilThursday 4, 11 AprilFriday 5, 12 AprilSaturday 6, 13 AprilSunday 7, 14 April
1st April - Closed
Pool Party
Pool Party
Pool Party
Pool Party
Swim for All
Swim for All
13:15 - 14:15
Pool Party - 8th only
Pool Disco
Pool Disco
Pool Disco
Pool Disco
Family Zone Swim
Family Zone Swim
14:30 - 15:30
Pool Disco - 8th only

Pre-booking is required and bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. The times and information provided were correct when going to print and may change without notice. For up-to-date timings, please click here.

Southglade Leisure Centre: 

Monday 1, 8 AprilTuesday 2, 9 AprilWednesday 3, 10 AprilThursday 4, 11 AprilFriday 5,12 AprilSaturday 6, 13 AprilSunday 7, 14 April
1st April - Closed10:15-11:00
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun
Swim for Fun
Notts Splash Tots - 8th only
Notts Splash Tots
Notts Splash Tots
Notts Splash Tots
Notts Splash Tots
Swim for Fun - 8th only
Swim for Fun - 2nd Only

Pre-booking is required and bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. The times and information provided were correct when going to print and may change without notice. For up-to-date timings, please click here.

Victoria Leisure Centre: 

Monday 1, 8 AprilTuesday 2, 9 AprilWednesday 3, 10 AprilThursday 4, 11 AprilFriday 5, 12 April
1 April - Closed 12:15-13:15
Swim for Fun (teaching pool)
Swim for Fun (main and teaching pool)
Splash Tots (teaching pool)
Swim for Fun (main pool and teaching pool)
Swim for Fun - 8th only (main and teaching pool)
Splash Tots (teaching pool)
Swim for All (main and teaching pool)
Splash Tots (teaching pool)
Swim for Fun (main pool & teaching pool)
Swim for Fun - Inflatables (main Pool)
Swim for Fun (teaching pool)

Please be aware the small splash zone at Victoria Leisure Centre is currently unavailable.

Pre-booking is required and bookings can be made up to 7 days in advance. The times and information provided were correct when going to print and may change without notice. For up-to-date timings, please click here.

What’s new at Southglade Leisure Centre

We’re counting down the days until Southglade Leisure Centre gym reopens following its refurbishment and we’re so excited! We’ve been planning some amazing things behind the scenes for you to enjoy alongside the refreshed gym, keep reading to find out more – launching 11 December 2023.

VIP gym reopening – Monday 11 December

Click here to book your Fitness+ VIP early access slot to your new gym at Southglade Leisure Centre.

For each place booked, you can bring along a friend to try out the new gym for free! Best of all, we have some giveaways and offers available at Southglade Leisure Centre on Monday 11 December to celebrate the reopening of the gym! Please be aware there are photographers on site on 11 December taking pictures of the reopening, so smile for the camera!

Side note – on the booking screen, if you’re bringing a guest, please select the option that states VIP Gym Launch with guest – only select this option once. Our system will deduct two spaces for you.

Exciting News: Fitness Class Programme at Southglade Leisure Centre is getting a makeover. 

Mark your calendars for December 11, 2023! Southglade Leisure Centre’s Fitness Class programme is getting a fresh update.

We’ve listened to your feedback on our current programme and have redesigned it to better suit your needs. Get ready to experience a new and improved workout routine.

Book an activity/session now – click here to get started.

Work is now under way to transform Active Nottingham gyms

Gyms at Victoria and Southglade Leisure Centres are due to be transformed as part of a wider £1.5m investment for new equipment next month.

Active Nottingham, which is part of Nottingham City Council, is investing the money over five years across all of its six leisure centres – Harvey Hadden, Clifton, Ken Martin, Southglade, Victoria and Djanogly – with Clifton and Harvey Hadden members already seeing the benefits of the new gym concept.

The revamp at Victoria and Southglade Leisure Centres will feature premium equipment from Life Fitness, Hammer Strength and ICG ®, which is suitable for all training interests and fitness levels.

Pictured: 3D graphic impression of Southglade Leisure Centre

The new kit will also feature immersive digital experiences with cardio consoles, a functional zone with a stretching area and environmentally-friendly Green Zones with self-powered equipment.

Victoria Leisure Centre is set to introduce a dedicated Functional Zone with multiple uses, including Ladies Only Functional Gym sessions, and Calm Functional Gym sessions which are aimed at gym-goers who prefer a quieter and less-crowded workout experience.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “The improvements to the gyms at Victoria and Southglade Leisure Centre represent a continued investment in ensuring high-quality fitness facilities are available to our communities.

“We are refurbishing all Active Nottingham gyms across the city to ensure wherever people live, they have the opportunity and access to high-quality fitness equipment. It’s great to see the next phase in progress following the renovated gyms earlier this year at Clifton Leisure Centre and Harvey Hadden Sports Village.”

Sport and Leisure Development Manager, Sarah Retzlaff, said: “Active Nottingham aims to support the overall health and wellbeing of city residents, and the new Life Fitness equipment is set to play a significant role.

“The introduction of Calm Functional Gym and Ladies Only Functional Gym sessions, alongside an enhanced Group Fitness Programme at Victoria and Southglade Leisure Centre, will enable us to reach out to a larger segment of the community, encouraging their engagement towards improving their physical and mental health.”

3d floor plan of Victoria Leisure Centre gym (1st floor) showing a range of cardio, functional and strength equipment. 3d Floor plan of the ground floor space of a new zone at Victoria Leisure Centre

Pictured: 3D graphic impressions of Victoria Leisure Centre

On Monday 4 December, Victoria Leisure Centre (11 December for Southglade Leisure Centre) will reopen its doors to the gyms for a VIP Open Day, where trainers from Life Fitness will be on hand to help customers with the new equipment. Members will also be invited to bring along a friend for free on the day.

To tie in with the reopening, residents will be able to take advantage of special joining offers* which include:

*Terms apply. Choose one of the three offers mentioned, which are exclusively available at Victoria and Southglade Leisure Centres from 4th to 12th December, coinciding with the reopening of the gyms. Offers will only be available between 4 and 12 December in centre at Victoria and Southglade Leisure Centres, Offers not available over the phone or via the website.

Offers may be removed or changed at any time, without prior warning or notice.

For more information on the refurbishment project, visit Active Nottingham’s website here.

What’s new at Victoria Leisure Centre

Victoria Leisure Centre gym has now reopened following its refurbishment and we’re so excited! We’ve planned some amazing things behind the scenes for you to enjoy alongside the refreshed gym, keep reading to find out more.


Calm Functional Gym at Victoria Leisure Centre

We’re excited to introduce the Calm Functional Gym, located on the ground floor of the Victoria Leisure Centre. This gym is perfect for those who prefer to work out in a quieter environment.

During our Calm Functional Gym sessions, we make sure to:

Please note that Calm Functional Gym sessions are only available during selected time slots. Click here to book.

Dedicated Ladies Only Functional Gym at Victoria Leisure Centre!

As part of our gym’s refurbishment, we’re thrilled to announce the addition of a Ladies Only Functional Gym.

This area, located on the ground floor, is perfect for toning up and improving overall fitness. Our functional gym zone offers a variety of cardiovascular, functional, and strength equipment to cater to your workout needs.

Enjoy a relaxed and friendly atmosphere while working out at your own pace and level, either with friends or by yourself.

Please note that Ladies Only Functional gym sessions are available during selected time slots only. Click here to book.

Exciting News: Fitness Class Programme at Victoria Leisure Centre is getting a makeover. 

We’ve listened to your feedback on our current programme and have redesigned it to better suit your needs. Get ready to experience a new and improved workout routine.

Book an activity/session now – click here to get started.

Exciting News: Fitness Class Programme at Victoria and Southglade Leisure Centre is getting a makeover. 

Victoria and Southglade Leisure Centre’s Fitness Class programme is getting a fresh update. We’ve listened to your feedback on our current programme and have redesigned it to better suit your needs. 

Get ready to experience a new and improved workout routine.

Active Nottingham wins an internationally recognised health and safety accolade from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)

Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has scooped a prestigious RoSPA Gold Award in the Leisure Safety category for the fourth time, demonstrating its commitment to high health and safety standards.

In addition to the RoSPA Gold Award, Active Nottingham was also presented with the RoSPA Leisure Safety Trophy; which is given to the overall highest performer within the Leisure Safety Award category and recognises excellence in health and safety management.

The RoSPA Health and Safety Awards is the UK’s largest occupational health and safety awards programme. Now into its 67th year, the Awards have almost 2,000 entries every year, covering nearly 50 countries and a reach of over seven million employees. The programme recognises organisations’ commitment to continuous improvement in the prevention of accidents and ill health at work, looking at entrants’ overarching health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.

While most awards are non-competitive – recognising individual organisations’ achievements – competitive awards are presented in 20 industry sectors and for specialist areas of health and safety management.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis said: “I am thrilled the team have achieved Gold at the RoSPA Awards. To achieve this for a fourth time is a credit to the hard work of the management team and staff at each of our leisure centres, who ensure the safety of our customers is a top priority.

“I’m delighted Active Nottingham has been recognised, for being one of the best in the country within the leisure industry, even more so with the addition of the RoSPA Leisure Safety Trophy.”

Julia Small, RoSPA’s Achievements Director, said: “Accidents at work and work-related ill health don’t just have huge financial implications or cause major disruption – they significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. That’s why good safety performance deserves to be recognised and rewarded.

“We are thrilled that Active Nottingham has won a RoSPA Award and would like to congratulate them on showing an unwavering commitment to keeping their employees, clients and customers safe from accidental harm and injury.”

Sponsored by Croner-i, the RoSPA Awards scheme is the longest-running of its kind in the UK, and receives entries from organisations across the globe, making it one of the most sought-after achievement awards for the health and safety industry.

Pictured left to right:
Errol Taylor – RoSPA, Chief Executive.
Geoff Ritson – Nottingham City Council, Sport and Leisure – Health, Safety and Training Manager


Notes to Editor(s)

Active Nottingham swimming pools awarded PoolMark Accreditation

Jonathan (pictured left) and Ian (pictured right) are standing in front of the swimming pool at Clifton Leisure Centre, holding the PoolMark Plaque ad Certificate.

Swimmers attending any of the six Active Nottingham swimming pools, part of Nottingham City Council, can be assured they meet the highest quality standards after achieving the PoolMark Accreditation from the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG).

The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) is the leading authority on swimming pool operation, water treatment and technical information relating to health and safety.

PoolMark is the UK National Standard for quality, healthy pools. The PoolMark certification assures operators and the public that the pool meets essential healthy pool operational standards.

Pools that follow and achieve the Code’s standards through assessment are awarded a plaque and certificate to show their achievement.

Jonathan Cook (Swimming Pools Technical Officer) and Ian Dunphy (Assistant Manager/Project Lead) from Clifton Leisure Centre (pictured above) said: “We’re proud to have undertaken this journey for Active Nottingham’s swimming pools. It’s a first for Nottingham City, as only 42 swimming pools (out of the 800+ pools in the UK) have been accredited, and we have six of those – it’s a huge achievement for us.”

To find your nearest Active Nottingham swimming pool visit, www.activenottingham.com/centres/

Digital improvements for Active Nottingham customers for 2023

Members of Active Nottingham leisure centres are set to benefit from improvements to their accounts, making bookings and payments easier.

The introduction of a new Leisure Management System (LMS) in late spring 2023 at Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, will offer members more control over their fitness.

The new software, provided by Legend, aims to deliver more flexibility, streamline bookings and payments and make it easier for citizens to access leisure centre services. The system will also enable Active Nottingham to gain better insights into its customer base through improved tracking and reporting systems.

John Wileman, Head of Sport and Leisure for Active Nottingham, said: “The introduction of a new Leisure Management System is an exciting time for Active Nottingham as the improved features will allow residents more flexibility when it comes to managing their account, booking online and via the mobile app.

“Combined with the gym improvement project at Clifton Leisure Centre and Harvey Hadden Sports Village, 2023 is set to be an exciting year for us.”

Implementation of the new system will be rolled out in late Spring 2023 and further updates will be provided via the Active Nottingham website in the coming weeks.

Active Nottingham gyms undergo a major transformation

The gyms at Harvey Hadden Sports Village and Clifton Leisure Centre are currently being transformed as part of a wider £1.5m investment for new equipment and set to reopen to the public on Tuesday 28 March 2023.

The average lifespan for a cardio machine is five years and the costs to repair will outstrip the value of the machine, resulting in a higher repair bill. This £1.5m cash injection will make sure each centre has new kit for gym-goers to use.

The money has been set aside to support the income generated from customers, allowing the investment to be made without the need for borrowing or impacting on wider day-to-day council services.

Active Nottingham, which is part of Nottingham City Council, is investing the money over five years across all of its six leisure centres – Harvey Hadden, Clifton, Ken Martin, Southglade, Victoria and Djanogly.

The revamp at Clifton and Harvey Hadden features premium equipment from Life Fitness, Hammer Strength and ICG ® – suitable for all training interests and fitness levels. The new kit will also feature immersive digital experiences with new cardio consoles, a functional zone with a stretching area and environmentally friendly Green Zones with self-powered equipment so more can be done to help the environment.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “it was great to visit the gym at Clifton Leisure Centre this week during the installation process, to see the new and improved facilities, meet the team and see their excitement for the gym to reopen. I’m confident these improvements will become a real asset to the community.

“We are refurbishing all Active Nottingham gyms across the city, to make sure wherever people live, they have the opportunity and access to high-quality fitness equipment.”

Left to right: Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, Ben Hattersley (Life Fitness), Andrew Miller (General Manager) and Kirsty Worthington (General Manager)

On Monday 27 March, both Clifton Leisure Centre and Harvey Hadden Sports Village will reopen their doors to the gym for a VIP Open Day, where Master Trainers from Life Fitness will be on hand to help customers utilise the new equipment. Members will also be invited to bring along a friend for free for the day.

To tie in with the reopening, residents will be able to take advantage of a special joining offer of three-month Fitness+ membership for £70 (a saving of £40) when visiting either Clifton or Harvey Hadden Sports Village.

For more information on the refurbishment project, visit Active Nottingham’s website here.

Left to right: Andrew Miller (General Manager) and Cllr Kotsonis.

Benefits exercise has on our mental health

Reduces stress

Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol

Improves sleep

Are you finding it difficult to drop off? Try a short workout or brisk walk. A single 30-minute workout can reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep and help you sleep longer overall.

Increases motivation

Exercise increases the production of endorphins that help you to produce a feeling of positivity, helping us to keep motivated.

Reduces social isolation

Joining a group fitness class or team sport, or even a parkrun is a great way to meet new people or to grow your friendship circle. Find an activity you enjoy and share it with like-minded people. For fitness class ideas, check out our activity page.

Improves symptoms of depression

Exercising regularly builds up resources that bolster resilience against our negative emotions.

Active Nottingham set to invest £1.5m in gym equipment

Gyms at Harvey Hadden Sports Village and Clifton Leisure Centre are in line to receive a share of £1.5m for new equipment over the next few months.

Active Nottingham, which is part of Nottingham City Council, is set to invest the money over five years across all of its six leisure centres – Harvey Hadden, Clifton, Ken Martin, Southglade, Victoria and Djanogly.

Harvey Hadden and Clifton will be the first in line to receive new equipment from Spring 2023.

The average lifespan for a cardio machine is five years and the costs to repair will outstrip the value of the machine, resulting in a higher repair bill.

This £1.5m cash injection will make sure each centre has new kit for gym-goers to use.

Overhead floor plan (artist impression) of the new gym facilities due to be installed at Clifton Leisure Centre in the Spring of 2023.
3D impression of Clifton Leisure Centre gym

Active Nottingham has set money aside to support the income generated from customers, allowing the investment to be made without the need for borrowing or impacting on wider day-to-day council services.

With increasing membership numbers and by listening to members, replacing old equipment will improve customer satisfaction as well as mental and physical health and wellbeing.

It will also allow Active Nottingham to remain competitive in an ever-growing sport and leisure marketplace – especially as today’s gym-goer wants to see smart technology on fitness equipment to enhance the gym experience.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I am pleased we are investing in our residents’ mental health and wellbeing by replacing the current gym equipment. This will play an important role in the promotion of getting more people active within our community.”

John Wileman, Head of Sport and Leisure for Active Nottingham, said: “This is great news for our members and local residents at each of the six Active Nottingham locations. We are always looking to improve and replacing our equipment means our gyms are not just great to use, but we are directly helping the city of Nottingham.”

The state-of-the-art fitness equipment will be purchased by Active Nottingham over the next five years, providing an enhanced gym experience to residents and members at Active Nottingham’s six leisure centres.

Overhead floor plan (artist impression) of the new gym facilities due to be installed at Harvey Hadden Sports Village in the Spring of 2023.
3D impression of Harvey Hadden Sports Village gym

Active Nottingham Leisure Centre first in the country to be recognised for tackling inequalities

Active Nottingham’s Ken Martin Leisure Centre (part of Nottingham City Council) in Nottingham has become the first leisure centre in the country to achieve the Quest Tackling Inequalities in Leisure Standard, demonstrating its commitment to tackling inequalities.

The Tacking Inequalities in Leisure accolade was bestowed on the centre as part of its Sport England Quest assessment, which measures how well a facility is operating and how effective organisations are across a range of areas.

First established more than 20 years ago, the renowned Quest award has evolved over the years to keep pace with the ever-changing sport and leisure industry, now including aspects such as the Tackling Inequalities assessment and an Exercise on Referral Standard.  Still the sector’s best-known improvement programme, its rigorous assessments challenge even the very best leisure centres in the UK.

Councillor Pavlos Kotsonis, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “I’m thrilled that our efforts and the ongoing work at Ken Martin Leisure Centre have been recognised with the Tackling Inequalities in Leisure Standard. This is a fantastic achievement and a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team. As a service, Active Nottingham is committed to providing accessible leisure facilities and I hope this encourages more local residents with disabilities and those with long-term health conditions to be active.”

Ken Martin Leisure Centre was recognised for working hard to ensure all demographics of the local community are welcome and find the centre accessible, which includes partnering with trusted local organisations, such as housing associations, primary care networks, social prescribing teams and mental health services.

The Sport and Physical Activity team have also been working with the community to help remove any barriers to access through campaigns such as Get Out Get ActiveThis Girl Can and the Disability Sport Insight and Participation project, which invited people living with a disability to try the facility for free in exchange for honest feedback.

Kirsty Worthington, General Manager at Ken Martin Leisure Centre says: “As well as proactively researching the demographics of our area so we can anticipate some of our community’s needs, we take a more holistic and individualistic appreciation of their requirements by working with partners, such as My Sight NottsDisability Direct and the Women’s Centre, and local projects, including community-based sports groups, to directly engage with people living in the local area.

“This includes attending local meetings and events, such as community fun days, inviting groups to attend the centre and help alleviate first-time visit anticipation, as well as offering virtual tours and subtitled centre walk-through videos on our website and social media, so people know what to expect in advance.

“The area around the centre has some of the highest levels of deprivation across the UK, experiencing a number of health challenges. Added to this, the area has a mixed population of ethnicities, including new and emerging communities, a large proportion of families and single-parent families, as well as a significant population of older people.  We need to offer programmes and activities that truly cater for everyone.”

Some of the activities that ticked the boxes for the Tackling Inequalities in Leisure Standard assessment team include Swim for Health, a 50+ morning and line dancing classes, which all attract a diverse attendance, as well as low-intensity mental health mindfulness classes, which enable customers to learn mindfulness meditation practices to help relax, reduce stress, slow down and live their life in the present.

Along with Active Nottingham’s other leisure centres, Ken Martin also boasts CredAbility accreditation; an independent quality mark run by disabled people, and the CredAbility Access Card, a national scheme that commits organisations to providing a quality service to people with a disability. The CredAbility Access +1 card scheme also allows holders to gain free access for essential companions or carers at Active Nottingham leisure centres.

Kirsty explains: “The CredAbility Access Card acts as evidence that someone needs support to use our services or is eligible for our offers.  Not only does it mean we discreetly know they are entitled to concessionary prices and may require individual help, they know we are a verified accessible venue with their best interests at heart.”

Sarah Maxwell, Head of External Accreditations at Right Directions, which manages Quest on behalf of Sport England, says: “We were truly impressed with the investment Ken Martin Leisure Centre has made around inclusivity for its local community.  For instance, the video on the Swim School is one of the most inclusive videos I have seen as an Assessor, with information being available in picture, sound and caption formats for members of the community, users and coaches.

“All the evidence, which includes investment in Disability Training Scenario Videos and Unconscious Bias Training to help prepare staff for their roles, demonstrates the centre and organisation are quality, not quantity, driven, with a focus on individual opportunities and thought, without taking a ‘blanket approach’ to their customers’ needs.”

Man swimming in pool at Ken Martin Leisure Centre. Right arm is stretched out in front as he does a Front Crawl.

Active Nottingham leisure centre awarded top marks on ‘Quest’ for excellence

Active Nottingham’s Ken Martin Leisure Centre has been awarded ‘Excellent’ for its facilities and services, recognising high quality within UK Sport and Leisure.

It joins Djanogly Community Leisure Centre at the top of the rankings for 2022 – another site run by Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council.

An industry standard developed by the UK Sports Council, Quest assessors look at a range of factors including operational management and approaches to engaging with customers through to community outcomes. Taking place over a two-day on-site assessment and a mystery shopper visit, the overall process ensures a thorough review takes place and provides assurances a quality service is being provided to residents.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I’m thrilled Ken Martin Leisure Centre has been awarded ‘Excellent’ for its performance and management on the latest Quest Assessment. This is a testament to the incredible work and dedication of our front-line staff delivering best practice and the highest industry standard for the benefit of Nottingham residents using the centre.”

Ken Martin Leisure Centre General Manager, Kirsty Worthington, said: “Thank you to everyone at Ken Martin Leisure Centre and the wider Sport and Leisure teams for their assistance and support during the Quest preparation as well as the recent two-day assessment. It’s brilliant news for us all that we were rated as ‘Excellent’ as it highlights the hard work that is put into Ken Martin Leisure Centre. The hard work does not stop here, we will continue to assess, reflect and progress the site and the services we offer to Nottingham residents and customers. Great job everyone!”.

Ken Martin Leisure Centre has been externally assessed and achieved Quest Plus - Excellent. This certificate expires in July 2024. Image includes Quest logo, Sport England Logo.

For more information about Quest, visit: https://www.questaward.org/ 

Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre, and Victoria Leisure Centre.

Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre

Take a virtual tour of Active Nottingham without leaving your house!

A NEW virtual tour promoting the facilities of six leisure centres in Nottingham has been launched by Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council.

The online tool not only allows users to see inside each Active Nottingham leisure centre but also view spaces from 360-degree angles. During the tour, potential members can gain virtual access to the facilities and visit each building from the comfort of their mobile device or computer.

Virtual Tour Image - Harvey Hadden Sports Village Gym

Active Nottingham is much more than just a ‘gym’ with indoor swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms and a range of exercise classes, there is something for everyone and the new virtual tour allows potential members to explore the layout and details prior to arrival.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said:

“I’m delighted Active Nottingham have launched their virtual tours, especially as they provide flexibility for potential members as well as those who may not be comfortable with having an in-person tour and want the freedom to view the leisure centres at their leisure.

“The tours also offer valuable information for service users wanting to understand access arrangements, where the changing rooms are, where specific rooms are for classes etc.

“Nottingham residents will benefit greatly from these tours and I hope they will inspire more people to get active.”

For more information and to view the new Active Nottingham Nottingham virtual tours, visit https://www.activenottingham.com/virtual-tour/

In-person tours are still available and can be booked by visiting www.activenottingham.com/enquire

Virtual Tour Image - Victoria Leisure Centre Swimming Pool

Can this brown gal swim? The final day!

It’s the final day of Summaya’s challenge and the Brown Gal Can’t Swim podcast and if you’ve stuck with us this far, you’ll have heard Summaya talking about why she is learning to swim at 27, changing rooms within swimming facilities, modesty and swimwear, plus why you should learn to swim given the apparent dangers with water.

Summaya stands in the swimming pool with water, looking up and talking to swimming teacher Victoria (who is stood at the side of the swimming pool)

Summaya (in water) and Nottingham Swim School Teacher, Victoria (right)

Spoiler Alert!

Now, if you’ve not listened to the final day of the podcast series, then below are some spoilers!

Let’s rewind to a cold, wet and windy day in Nottingham and a team of supporters (plus some open water swimmers) headed to Spring Lakes to watch Summaya take on her final task – a 500m open water swim.

Spring Lakes

Spring Lakes

Summaya is putting on a brave face as she mentally prepares for the swim and kindly snaps some images with our team and is interviewed by the BBC. She’s compiled a Brown Gal Can’t Swim playlist for everyone to listen to as she counts down the time before she gets into the cold lake.

As it nears 4 pm, the nerves are kicking in – it is a miserable day weather-wise, she’s paranoid about the swans and ducks plus a lot of emotions are racing through her mind – however, her swim coaches are here (Nottingham Swim School teacher Victoria Charles and Her Spirit’s Mel Berry), plus Olympian Alice Dearing providing words of calm, encouragement and advice as she prepares to get into the water. As she pops back into the changing room for a pep talk with her brother, she decides she needs a moment alone, saying: “(I’m) feeling really nervous….I’ve got butterflies….but I’m feeling ready – let’s do this”.

Right before she gets in the water, she listens to Ella Henderson’s Ghost to help calm her.

Summaya, wearing her wetsuit, floation device and headphones, being interviewed by the BBC

Summaya, listening to Ella Henderson Ghost.

The time is now 4:15 pm and Summaya begins her swim, taking it in her stride, like a duck to water! She swims the first 200m using a variety of strokes and is looking strong, but then stops and it looks as though she might be struggling….. But after a few words of encouragement and advice from the boat (with one of her coaches, Mel Berry, who is following), she powers on.

All the while Summaya is in the water, there are groups of swimmers also in the lake. They join her for the last push – providing an open water swim supporter group! Everyone is on the bank cheering and shouting to Summaya for the home stretch and the sound is deafening!

Summaya is being interviewed by the BBC and a camera crew stands in front of her as she emerges from the lake

Summaya, emerging victorious from Spring Lakes

At 4:39 pm, 24 minutes after she started the swim Summaya has done it! Summaya has swam 500m in open water after only learning how to swim 8 weeks ago – what an amazing achievement.

As she leaves the water, she tells the crowd (who have now gathered) “That felt like a lot. It was really really hard….eight weeks ago I literally couldn’t swim and today I’ve managed to do 500m in open water. If I can do it, and I could not swim at all, then anyone can do it! no matter how embarrassed you might feel about not having a (swimming) skill, it could save your life. with the right support and the right people around you, you can make it happen”.

Summaya, just finished the 500m open water swim, stands with her coat on, looking up and chatting to Rob Green

Summaya and Rob Green

Can this Brown Gal Swim? She sure can and she did an incredible job! To listen to the Brown Gal Can’t Swim series in full, click here.

Get Out Get Active Nottingham has been honoured to work alongside Active Nottingham in supporting Summaya Mughal’s Brown Gal Can’t Swim campaign. The values of the project of supporting more people to be more active and overcoming the barriers faced to being active perfectly aligns with the campaign’s ambitions to address the lack of South Asian and other ethnic minority swimmers in our pools across the country.

Swimming is a fantastic activity for people of all ages and all abilities, including people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, that has multiple benefits both for our physical and mental wellbeing. However, for many who have never learnt to swim, or who have anxieties about accessing a pool, it can feel really overwhelming and can prevent people not only from accessing swimming pools but also from gaining the vital life skill of swimming and being safe in the water.

Through the GOGA project, we have worked on a number of swimming initiatives such as the development of our Swim for Health programme across the six Active Nottingham pools which provides a public swim in a quieter setting with the support of flotation aids within the pool and other supportive equipment such as gradual steps.

However we know that often the biggest barrier can often be overcoming the mental and emotional barriers and that’s why we are so inspired by the work of Summaya and her Brown Gal Can’t Swim campaign and it’s endeavour to break down the stigma around learning to swim or accessing support to enjoy swimming and we are proud to have been a partner, alongside Active Nottingham, in this work.

Well done Summaya!

Summaya, pictured left, and Claudia (Get Out Get Active Nottingham) pictured right after the 500m open water swim

Summaya (left) and Claudia from Get Out Get Active Nottingham (right) celebrating the 500m swim

If you’ve been inspired to take up swimming, get in touch with Nottingham Swim School today and see how we can help you on your own swim journey.

Brown Gal Can’t Swim: City Council helps BBC presenter to get South Asian women swimming

Summaya Mughal (left) and Alice Dearing (right). Image: Charlie Firth

Nottingham-born BBC presenter Summaya Mughal has been learning to swim at Active Nottingham pools in a bid to encourage other South Asian women to take the plunge.

Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has supported her during her journey which she starts sharing on air this week. Her five-part series looks into learning to swim at the age of 27 and explores why many South Asian women are less likely to swim.

In revealing that she couldn’t swim, Summaya exposed the cultural barriers that she faced and how it has affected her both physically and mentally. As part of this journey, Summaya has given other members of the South Asian community the confidence to take their first steps into swimming.

As a result of her campaign, Summaya was honoured at the Nottingham Awards 2022 last week for her work in the Voluntary and Community Sector. Meanwhile, Active Nottingham, Nottingham Swim School and the council’s school swimming department have been honoured at the recent Swim England Teaching and Education Awards.

The series titled ‘Brown Gal Can’t Swim’ sees Summaya learn to swim in just eight weeks at Active Nottingham swimming pools, supported by Nottingham Swim School swimming teacher Victoria Charles. Olympians Rebecca Adlington and Alice Dearing also provide support and guidance and set Summaya additional challenges including a 500m open water swim – will she do it? You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “We’re thrilled to be a part of this project with Summaya and the BBC to help raise awareness and showcase the importance of learning to swim within South Asian communities. This campaign will go a long way to help break down barriers that people face when it comes to swimwear, changing rooms, and going swimming itself and help get more communities involved in swimming.

“Active Nottingham and Nottingham Swim School are proud to have helped Summaya learn to swim over the past eight weeks and it was great to see her face the 500m open water challenge at Spring Lakes.

“Summaya has also worked with the black swimming association to challenge the lack of representation of black and Asian people in both recreational and elite swimming – she also engaged with Olympic swimmers Becky Adlington and Alice Dearing in her campaign, who both set her challenges for Summaya to complete.

Her work with diverse communities is second to none, both engaging as well as empowering!”

The Brown Gal Can’t Swim podcast is available on BBC Sounds: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/series/p0ctzgft It will also be broadcast as a series on BBC East Midlands Today from Tuesday 11 October 2022.

Summaya at Southglade Leisure Centre. Image: Charlie Firth 

Importance of learning to swim

Swim Teacher Denise, teaching a Pre-school class in the swimming pool
Swimming is the only sport which could save your life and is a tremendous amount of fun for all people of all ages and children especially, enjoy getting into the water. But it is important to swim safely. It’s also important to remember children (and adults) who appear to be confident in the water are not always competent swimmers.

Reasons why you should learn to swim

A group of children look up out of the water with swimming aids under their arms

According to Swim England:

Learning to swim is a skill for life and is rarely forgotten, swimming doesn’t care about age either making it an accessible sport for all.

Active Nottingham and Nottingham Swim School are one of the largest swimming lesson providers in Nottingham. Learn to Swim today and make a lifelong difference, enquire here.

Brown Gal Can’t Swim: Summaya Mughal aims to get South Asian women swimming

Summaya and Alice sit crossed legged on the swimming pool (dryside) floor. The pool and steps leading into the pool is behind them.. Image cred: Charlie Firth

Left to Right: Summaya Mughal and Alice Dearing. Image: Charlie Firth

Nottingham-born and raised Summaya Mughal, a BBC presenter and podcaster for BBC Radio Sounds and Radio Leicester is presenting a five-part series which explores why many South Asian women are less likely to swim.

The series, Brown Gal Can’t Swim (BGCS), will see Summaya take on swimming challenges set by Olympians Rebecca Adlington and Alice Dearing. She said: “I’ve spent over 20 years embarrassed about not having a skill it feels like kids have”.

Breaking down barriers and misconceptions

Statistics from Swim England show people from black and Asian backgrounds are less likely to swim than those from white communities, with 49% of black and Asian communities unable to swim 25m unaided.

Summaya aims to break down misconceptions about swimming and encourage members of the South Asian community to get behind her campaign and learn to swim.

About the journey itself, Summaya says: “It has tested me physically and emotionally but I’m hoping it makes a difference and encourages others to learn to swim too. After all, it could save your life.”

As part of the BGCS project Summaya is challenged to swim 50m in a swimming pool by Rebecca Adlington and 500m in open water by Alice Dearing in just eight weeks – will she do it? Keep listening to the BGCS podcast daily from Monday 10 October 2022.

Listen to Episode One of Summaya’s podcast here.

Importance of learning to swim

Did you know swimming is the only sport which could save your life, according to Swim England.

Swimming is a tremendous amount of fun for all people of all ages and children, especially, who enjoy getting into the water. But it is important to swim safely. Check out our blog for the importance of learning to swim, you can read it here.

Good luck with the campaign Summaya, Active Nottingham and Nottingham Swim School is proud to work with you on this project and we all look forward to seeing more about it in the next few days!

Active Nottingham named finalists at the Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2022

Swim School Teaching and Education Awards 2022 Logo

Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, is delighted to have been named by Swim England as 2022 Awards Finalists after entering the awards for the first time.

They have been shortlisted in two categories:

Deborah Williams was awarded ‘Runner Up’ for Swimming Teacher of the Year after being nominated by Nottingham Swim School parents and students from Djanogly Community Leisure Centre and Southglade Leisure Centre.

Deborah Williams

Additionally, Nottingham City Council’s School Swimming department came away with School Swimming Provider of the Year for the second year in a row.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I’m delighted Active Nottingham has been successful in their efforts to become finalists at the Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2022 in two categories. This is an incredible achievement to all the team for their incredibly hard yet rewarding work.

“Well done to Deborah Williams for achieving ‘Runner Up’ in the Swimming Teacher of the Year category. Deborah should be very proud of her achievement, as should all who were nominated.

“Congratulations also to our Nottingham City Council colleagues for winning School Swimming Provider of the Year for a second year in a row, with special thanks to School Swimming Manager, Claire Moores – well deserved.”

Nottingham Swim School Manager, Claire Sullivan, said “We’re pleased Nottingham Swim School was nominated for Swim School of the Year, alongside many of our Nottingham Swim School teachers in the Swim Teacher of the Year category.

“As a City Council delivering both school swimming (during the daytime) and Nottingham Swim School (Monday-Friday 4-6.30 pm and weekends) we are committed to teaching as many children and young people in our City to swim and to learn this vital life skill.”

Nottingham City Council School Swimming Manager, Claire Moores, said “Thank you to the Sport and Leisure teams at Active Nottingham for providing us such a fabulous learning environment for school pupils to learn new and essential life skills. How we pull together from collaboration to delivery is a real team effort, and the Swim Teachers should be very proud of the recognition of all their hard work.”

The Swim England Teaching and Education Awards 2022 took place in Solihull on Thursday 28 September and gave Swim England the chance to honour the very best of the swimming workforce within the UK. It’s a chance to highlight the innovations and achievements of the best educators, swimming teachers, tutors and swim schools within the sport and recognise their success.

Nottingham Swim School Logo

For a full list of winners and finalists please visit: https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/swim-england-news/

For more information on Nottingham Swim School visit www.activenottingham.com/swim-school

Nottingham Swim School operates swimming lessons at six Active Nottingham leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre

National Fitness Day 2022

3 people stretching and smiling. National Fitness Day logo and #FitnessUnitesUs

To celebrate National Fitness Day we’ve put together some challenges for you to have a go at when visiting Active Nottingham.

HIIT Workout

Individual Medley Swimming Challenge


Let your name pick your workout

Try this for pot luck and let your name determine your workout today

Your name spells out what workouts you're doing this week

 Arm Workout

Whatever you plan to do to get active this National Fitness Day, we’ve plenty to keep you moving and motivated in our 6 Active Nottingham Leisure Centres!

Share your Fitness Day snaps with us on Facebook or Instagram!

From Group Fitness to Swim School

Meet Elidia, Group Fitness Instructor for Active Nottingham and now Swim School Teacher for Nottingham Swim School (part of Active Nottingham). We recently caught up with Elidia to find out about her fitness journey and what led her to become a Swim School Teacher.

Hi Elidia, thanks for catching up with us today. So…how did you get into the fitness industry?

I was originally training in the gym as a customer/service user and during that time frame, I worked in the nursery for Nottingham Nursery in Radford. I thought, being in the nursery industry I’ll always have a job, but sadly, it didn’t work out for me and I was made redundant.

I thought to myself, well I love gym training and doing fitness classes, why don’t I train to become a fitness instructor – that way I can still do my fitness and work in the gym. I completed all my required training and passed, turns out I never ended up working in the gym and jumped on fitness classes. I’m overwhelmed at how much I’ve progressed from working in a nursery to where I am now as a Swim Teacher!

How long have you worked in the fitness industry and what is your favourite class to teach?

About four years, which has gone so quick! I would definitely say Group Cycling is my favourite class to teach – which I do at Southglade but also do cover work.

I need to try Group Cycling (said in disbelief they’ve just said that – haha)

Yes, you do Carrie. Group cycling is good fun. Come along, it’s great for all abilities as we offer beginner classes and intermediate. All of my classes are designed to get your heart pumping, have fun and improve your skills. Group cycling is amazing for balance, stamina, speed and rhythm as you have to keep in time to the music – I will push you, but it’s for your benefit!

What other classes do you run?

Aqua Fit – which is literally for everyone of all ages and abilities. I also teach ladies-only aqua fit classes on a Sunday morning at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre (nice plug, we see what you did there). I have my vision and what music I’ll play in each class. I don’t want to keep my classes the same every week so I will play about with the routine and mix it up, so it doesn’t become same-old same-old. Keeps everyone on their toes! I’m also a stickler for time-keeping and starting on time so it’s fair to everyone in the class.

Also teach H.I.I.T, Circuits, Stretch and Tone (I like Stretch and Tone). I cover a lot of classes too.

You’ve done the different group fitness classes for a number of years now, what was the main reason for you wanting to become a Swim Teacher?

I was told many years ago, but the ladies I worked with in the nursery, “don’t put all your eggs into one basket”. I thought I’ve worked with children (in the nursery), so I thought I could marry the two elements together (as I also do Aqua Fit classes) and put all my skills together and become a Swim School Teacher so I can give back what I’ve learnt to teach children and help them progress.

Did you find it hard doing your Swim Teacher training?

It wasn’t easy, I found it intense (especially with still teaching group fitness classes) but at the same time my dad passed away so had a lot of emotions to cope with. I can’t believe that I’ve actually passed my Swim Teacher qualifications as I thought I was going to give up. But I believe my dad was watching over me, pushing me to complete and I’m glad I continued with it all as it’s been really rewarding. Ever time I found myself not wanting to continue with it, I would push myself more and write more lesson plans to keep focused. Nottingham City Council and the rest of the team in Active Nottingham has been so supportive and encouraging.

Would you recommend becoming a Swim Teacher?

Yes I would. I’m loving it, I’m loving this – I should have done it years ago!!!!

I hear you’ve now received your certificates now to show you’re fully qualified and raring to go.

Yessss! I have, I have received them. I have my first induction today and tomorrow and then I can start on the programme in September. I saw all the different people teaching Aqua Babies and thought yes I could do that, then they also explained you can progress with coaching and perhaps (one day) we can coach swimming for the Olympics. So I’ve gone from thinking I’ll be teaching Aqua Babies but wow, I could also do some coaching too! The opportunities with training to be a Nottingham Swim School teacher are incredible.

What’s your plan over the next few years now?

Hopefully, I can continue to teach swim school with the different age groups (including adults as well) but I’d love to coach and also become a mentor! But teaching aqua babies I’m looking forward to that, as that’s where you can build a child’s water confidence and from there they can progress through the different stages and get their different hats.

For those that aren’t aware, as people progress through the different swim school stages with Nottingham Swim School they will receive a new hat to correspond with the new stage that they’re in. Similar to different coloured belts in Judo, Karate etc. 

Thank you for your time. It’s been great hearing about your fitness journey. You’ve gone full circle from just working out in the gym to now Swim School Teacher/Group Fitness Instructor. 

If you’d like to find out more about Nottingham Swim School swimming lessons, visit www.activenottingham.com/swim-school/ 




Stretches you can do at your desk

If you’re sitting down all day in an office, you might be sacrificing your effectiveness when working out or even putting yourself at risk of injury. Continuous sitting affects certain muscles, which then tighten up over time, becoming stiff and affecting your posture and making some movements harder when working out (and in everyday life).

There is good news, you can avoid this by doing quick and easy stretches. Take a few moments out from your desk (ideally every hour if you’re not getting up and moving your body) to perform some stretches – the best bit, you can do them from your desk.

Neck Stretch

Side Stretch

2 mature women and 1 mature man are seated and performing a seated stretch, with their arms and body leaning to one side.

Hamstring Stretch

Back Stretch

Perfect if your lower back is feeling tight when you’re sitting at your desk.

Upper Back Stretch

Man sat at a desk, arms reaching out in a stretch with his arms in front of him

After practising these exercises, it’s important to try and create a quick office-desk stretch routine you can do daily. It should only take 3-5 minutes and is a great way at breaking up the day and doing something good for your body.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Muslim women in a sports hijab does exercises, planks, push ups in a gym

Is there a better time of day to work out?

Are you a morning or evening person? Some people find it easier to exercise in the morning as their energy levels are at their highest, others prefer to wait until the evening as it fits better with their daily life.The time of day we choose to workout will depend on many things – ultimately it needs to fit in with everything in our lives. It needs to fit around work, studies, family and other commitments. We also need to choose times best suited to our bodies and our natural energy levels. The best time to exercise is down to us, working out whenever we can and being consistent.There are some benefits to exercising at certain times of the day, take a look below.

Morning workouts:

Important: if exercising in the morning don’t forget to sufficiently warm up. Your muscles and joints tend to be “colder” when you have just woken up and are more prone to injury.

Afternoon/evening workouts:

Regardless of the time of day we exercise, it is still very important to ensure we warm up sufficiently.

Try to find a time to work out that suits your lifestyle – taking all aspects into consideration – but most importantly, a time that you will consistently be able to stick with in the long run.

Man doing press up with kettle bells in a gym

These girls certainly can: Nottingham celebrates women’s successes in sport

Pictured: Mary Earps (England vs Austria). Image credit: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

Pictured: Mary Earps (England vs Austria). Image credit: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

Nottingham City Council has shown its support for the England Lionesses with the country’s largest flag on the Council House, and sends them congratulations on their historic win against Germany yesterday.

The England team’s incredible 2-1 victory against the eight-time European Champions at a sold-out Wembley is a huge achievement – and sets an example which will inspire girls and women today and for future generations.

Along with Notts-born goalie Mary Earps who played such a vital role throughout the Lionesses’ European Championship campaign including last night’s final, Nottingham/Nottinghamshire has a score of women taking part in the 2022 Commonwealth Games representing Team England, including Olympic silver medallist, Emily Campbell, and we wish them every success during the games.

Women’s sport is very much in the public eye at the minute and Nottingham has been looking to capture that energy. Working alongside a variety of partners such as Sport England, Nottingham Forest Community Trust and British Cycling, the council provides a comprehensive offer for women to take part in physical activity, in a way that suits them.

Working on projects such as This Girl Can since 2015, Active Nottingham, part of the City Council, has inspired thousands of women in Nottingham to take part in sports and physical activity. Whether it’s swimming at local leisure centres or women’s cricket sessions in partnership with The Renewal Trust and Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, these sessions open up opportunities for girls and women – and could produce the next Euros finalist or Commonwealth Games contender.

Active Nottingham recently brought home two wins at the UK Active Awards and are finalists in the upcoming Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards for the recent This Girl Can Nottingham project (2019-2022). The project will look to return at the end of 2022, celebrating women being active in a variety of different ways.

Nottingham City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “What an incredible achievement for the Lionesses yesterday – not only for the historic win, but also the huge legacy this will leave for the future of women’s and girls’ sport. We’re hugely proud of them, as well as the local women who are competing on the world stage at the Commonwealth Games. We will continue to promote sporting opportunities for girls and women in Nottingham to help them to reach their potential.”

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “It’s great to see the growth of women’s sport at a national level and what Nottingham is doing to support women at a more local level. To see the Lionesses win the European Championships at a sold-out Wembley would have been unthinkable five years ago and having eight Nottingham women represent England at the Commonwealth Games is a testament to the city’s sporting prowess.

“It’s great to see the effort Active Nottingham is making across the city to ensure that the energy is transferred from the screen to local provision. I’m delighted with the work taking place, and the national awards they have won and are currently finalists in. I look forward to supporting the ongoing effort made to increase the number of women taking part in physical activity.”

Notes to editors

To find out more about This Girl Can Nottingham: visit: https://www.nottsgirlscan.co.uk/

To find out more about getting into Women’s football, visit: https://www.nottinghamshirefa.com/ways-to-play/female

APSE is dedicated to promoting excellence in the delivery of frontline services to local communities around the UK). For more information on the APSE Awards, visit: https://apse.org.uk/index.cfm/apse/news/articles/2022/announcing-the-finalists-of-the-apse-service-awards-2022/

Nottingham/Nottinghamshire-born athletes:

  1. Emily Campbell – Weightlifting: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/emily-campbell
  2. Freya Colbert – Swimming: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/freya-colbert
  3. Sabbie Heesh – Hockey: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/sabbie-heesh
  4. Anna Purchase – Track and Field (Hammer): https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/anna-purchase
  5. Molly Renshaw – Swimming: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/molly-renshaw
  6. Sophie Hahn – Athletics: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/sophie-hahn
  7. Georgia Holt – Cycling: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/georgia-holt
  8. Samantha Harrison: Athletics: https://teamengland.org/team-england-athletes/samantha-harrison
  9. Mary Earps – England football goalkeeper: https://www.englandfootball.com/womens-senior-team/squad/mary-earps

Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre.

Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre

Active Nottingham leisure centre awarded top marks on ‘Quest’ for excellence

Active Nottingham’s Djanogly Community Leisure Centre (DCLC), part of Nottingham City Council, has been awarded ‘Excellent’ for its facilities and services, recognising high quality within UK Sport and Leisure.

An industry standard developed by the UK Sports Council, Quest assessors look at a range of factors including operational management and approaches to engaging with customers through to community outcomes. Taking place over a two-day on-site assessment and a mystery shopper visit the overall process ensures a thorough review takes place and provides assurances we’re providing a quality service to residents.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, said: “I’m really proud of Djanogly Community Leisure Centre being awarded ‘Excellent’ in terms of its performance and management on its latest Quest Assessment. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our front line staff delivering best practice and highest industry standard for the benefit of Nottingham residents using the centre.”

Djanogly Community Leisure Centre General Manager, Tom Nelson, said: “Thank you to all the team at DCLC and the wider Sport and Leisure service for their help and support during the Quest preparation and the two-day assessment. It’s great we were awarded ‘Excellent’, but it doesn’t stop here, we will continue to review, reflect and continually improve the site and the service we offer to residents and customers. Well done everyone and thanks again!”.

For more information about Quest and the award, visit: https://www.questaward.org/ 

Working out in the heat

It might be hot out but we also want you to stay active but safely! So, here are some tips for keeping your cool when working out!

Man drinking a bottle of water and cooling down as he wipes his neck with a towel.

Sunscreen bottle on a towel with the phrase "Don't skip the sunscreen"

How to sport if someone has Heat Exhaustion

Spot the symptoms of heat exhaustion:

To help protect yourself and others is to spot the symptoms of heat stroke, which include:-

  1. A headache
  2. Dizziness or confusion
  3. Excessive sweating
  4. Very thirsty
  5. High temperature
  6. Fast breathing or pulse
  7. Loss of appetite and feeling sick
  8. Cramps

If you notice that someone has signs of heat stroke/exhaustion you should:


How to stay hydrated before, during and after your workout

Ensuring we are adequately hydrated when exercising is essential – it is important to not rely on thirst alone to tell us how much to drink.

Man drinking from a large bottle of water.

Benefits of drinking enough fluid:

Here are some tips to follow:

Large sports water bottle with oranges at the base of the bottle and inside the bottle.

Sports Drinks:

Plain water is best for staying hydrated. Sports drinks and diluted fruit juice can be beneficial when taking part in endurance events. They will usually contain some carbohydrates as fuel as well as electrolytes to help replace those lost during longer more intense periods of exercise. As these types of drinks are sometimes costly, you could try making your own. Recipe: Add around 200ml of fruit juice or squash (not sugar-free) to 800ml of water, along with a generous pinch of sea salt.

If the taste is an important factor in helping you drink enough, diluting fruit juices or sports drinks in water is fine – especially if it means you will be keeping yourself well-hydrated.

Although other factors can influence this, a good indicator of whether you are adequately hydrated is monitoring the colour of your urine. It should ideally be a pale yellow colour, not clear.

Staying hydrated when exercising is a very important – yet too often neglected – part of ensuring we feel well and perform our best during physical activity.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Man drinking a bottle of water and cooling down as he wipes his neck with a towel.

Staying Motivated

Have you ever started a fitness regime and then quit? If you answered yes, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people start fitness and wellness programmes but stop when they get bored, aren’t enjoying it or don’t see the results as quickly as they’d hoped. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated.

If you ever feel your motivation slipping, review these tips to remind yourself of the ‘why’.

#BeExceptional and let us help you stay motivated. At Active Nottingham you have access to 6 gyms, 6 pools, 6 health suites and over 300 fitness classes. Find out more about our memberships here.

Mindfullness during exercise

Add mindfulness to your workout routine


Hands up if you just want to distract yourself when working out? Did you know there are so many benefits of being mindful during exercise, such as:

Not being focussed can impact the sensation of a job well done following a workout. Your workouts become less effective and you begin to rush through your routine. Embracing mindful fitness can help change this, and you might get more out of your workouts than you think.

Benefits of mindfulness during exercise

Zoning out during a workout, such as listening to your favourite playlist and moving your body through an activity you don’t have to think about (such as running or walking) can be meditative, allowing your mind to roam free whilst your body does the work.

But becoming too distracted breaks the connection to what you are actually doing. There is a flow when we are ‘in the moment’ and that provides many benefits:

How to workout with mindfulness

End on a good note

Be sure to remember all the good things about the workout and how good it feels when you’re done. If you can, try and lie down at the end of the workout for relaxation – that is your chance to really feel the effects of your hard work!

Active Nottingham named as Triple Finalists at the 2022 ukactive Awards

Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, are delighted to have been named by ukactive as 2022 Award Finalists after entering the awards for the first time.

They have been shortlisted in three categories – Regional Club of the Year (Harvey Hadden Sports Village), Activation Award (recognising organisations who run events to inspire and encourage people to be more active) and Physical Activity Hero Award (Charmaine Daley with This Girl Can Nottingham).

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Eunice Campbell-Clark, said: “I’m delighted to announce Active Nottingham has been successful in their efforts to become finalists at the ukactive Awards, in not one but three categories. This is an amazing achievement to all the team for the incredibly hard work they do, not just at our leisure centres, but within the community. I wish them the best of luck at the finals in June.”

Charmaine Daley will go head to head with other finalists in a public vote for the Physical Activity Hero Award. Charmaine has been involved in this Girl Can Nottingham since 2015 and more recently involved as the community motivator role, empowering and inspiring thousands of women to enjoy moving more and falling in love with their bodies through exercise.

Charmaine has a passion for helping those in need by dedicating her time to raising money for good causes through the power of Zumba; including the delivery of ‘Socially Distanced Street Zumba’ with This Girl Can Nottingham at the height of lockdown in Bulwell.

Voting opens on Monday 9 May and closes on 27 May, with the winner announced at the awards ceremony in Birmingham on 30 June 2022.

Pictured: Charmaine Daley, Physical Activity Hero Award finalist

ukactive’s annual awards are the most prestigious within the physical activity sector; they recognise facilities, suppliers, operators, educational institutes, health practitioners and large corporations that have demonstrated exceptional standards in driving forward the physical activity agenda.


For a full list of finalists within each category please visit: https://www.ukactive.com/news/finalists-revealed-for-ukactive-awards-2022/

Physical Activity Hero Award public voting link goes live on Monday 9 May until Friday 27 May 2022: https://www.ukactive.com/ukactive-awards-2022-stage-2-public-vote/

Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre.

Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre

Active Nottingham leisure centres awarded inclusive fitness initiative mark!

Active Nottingham’s Harvey Hadden Sports Village and Clifton Leisure Centre, part of Nottingham City Council, have been awarded the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) Mark for their facilities, joining Ken Martin Leisure Centre in three of eight centres in the East Midlands and the only centres in Nottingham to have this accreditation.

The IFI programme is run by the English Federation of Disability Sport, designed to offer disabled people more choice and opportunities to enjoy the benefits of physical activity.

The Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) has been established for many years, supporting leisure centres to become more welcoming and accessible environments to disabled people. Facilities across the country have been awarded the IFI Mark Accreditation. It helps leisure facilities to get more disabled people physically active.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Eunice Campbell-Clark, said: “I’m delighted that our efforts, and the on-going work of Active Nottingham has been recognised with the IFI Accreditation. I hope this encourages more disabled people and those with long term health conditions to access the centres and benefit from the facilities that are on offer.”

Clifton Leisure Centre General Manager, Kirsty Worthington, said: “As a team, we are extremely pleased to have maintained the IFI mark for another year at Clifton Leisure Centre.  It’s great to see the Centre recognised for its commitment to providing accessible services for disabled users, we certainly pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service and facilities for the community and service users.”

Pictured left to right: Arron, Mandy and Xenia from Clifton Leisure Centre with their IFI Accreditation

Harvey Hadden Sports Village General Manager, Andrew Miller, said: “It’s a great achievement for the team and facility that we have been recognised and awarded the IFI Accreditation for another year. We are proud that through an external assessment process it has been recognised that we provide inclusive high-quality services and facilities to all of our visitors.”


The number of centres in Nottingham and East Midlands were correct at the time of writing.

For more information about the IFI programme and the English Federation of Disability Sport visit:

Active Nottingham operates six leisure centres across the city of Nottingham: Clifton Leisure Centre, Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, Harvey Hadden Sports Village, Ken Martin Leisure Centre, Southglade Leisure Centre and Victoria Leisure Centre.

Visit www.activenottingham.com for more information or to find your nearest centre

Active Nottingham strikes gold…… AGAIN!

with another top flight award at the  Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) most prestigious awards for health and safety.

We’re celebrating after landing an internationally-recognised Gold Award for the third time demonstrating high health and safety standards.

Organisations receiving a RoSPA Award are recognised as being world leaders in health and safety practice. Every year, nearly 2,000 entrants vie to achieve the highest possible accolade in what is the UK’s longest-running Health and Safety industry awards.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Eunice Campbell-Clark said:

Achieving Gold for the 3rd time is a credit to the hard work of the management team and staff at each of our leisure centres, who ensure the safety of our customers is a top priority. I’m delighted Active Nottingham has been recognised, yet again, for being one of the best in the country within the leisure industry”.

Julia Small, RoSPA’s Achievements Director said:

“This is a fantastic and well-deserved accomplishment. All our award entrants demonstrate their unwavering commitment and passion for keeping people safe at work. By receiving this recognition Active Nottingham join like-minded businesses and organisations worldwide, that represent the very best in their approach to Health and Safety. I would like to add my personal thanks for all the work that it has taken to secure this well-deserved award – congratulations to all those involved, who champion and drive up Health and Safety standards every day. You are a fantastic example to others in your sector.

So, next time you visit one of our Active Nottingham leisure centres, you can be assured that we are officially one of the safest around!


Carrie checks out Boditrax

I spotted the new Boditrax machine in the gym at Harvey Hadden before going to my Aqua Fit lesson, and thought it was the perfect time to take my scan, before my exercise session.

What is Boditrax I hear you ask?

In simple terms, it looks like a mechanical scale with hand and feet scanners as well as a touch screen. It measures 20 different metrics related to your body to tell you how healthy your body really is.

How do I use Boditrax?

It was such a simple process; in and out of the gym within 2-3 minutes, so it didn’t impact my day or workout session. As it was my first time using the machine, I needed to set up a free account (this is so you can log into the app or the website afterwards and track/view the results). So I added my details and then it told me to take my shoes and socks off and stand on the machine. You follow the pretty simple onscreen instructions and after 30-50 seconds you’re done and you can view your results on the kiosk screen or you can view them when it’s convenient for you as the results are emailed to say it’s captured the scan.

I also downloaded the free Boditrax app, this is pretty important so you can track your results.

Downloading the app

You can download the Boditrax app from the App Store or the Google Play store or via the QR code on the poster on the machine; please note, you need to set up an account via the Boditrax machine before using the app.

What would I use Boditrax for?

If like me you want to track your body weight and muscle mass you have, this is perfect for you. But it doesn’t just do that. See below what else it tracks:

How often should I use Boditrax?

Boditrax recommends using the machine no more than once a week and this is the really important bit – scan yourself prior to exercising, not after and make sure you take your shoes and socks off to get the most accurate reading possible.

Final thoughts?

I loved the information available from the quick scan and can now track my progress and will visibly see the results and know what to target my workouts to. Definitely recommend using the Boditrax machine.

Check in with next month to see how I’m doing with my goals, eek!

***Boditrax machines are available for use at Harvey Hadden Sports Village. It is also available on a roadshow at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre for 3 months, where it will then move to another Active Nottingham leisure centre. Refer to the Boditrax website page for details of when it’ll move next!***

Why do I need swimming goggles?

Swimming goggles are specially designed to allow you to see underwater and to protect the eyes from the chemicals in the water, such as chlorine. Goggles are watertight (if you’ve fitted them correctly) by making an air pocket around the eye and stopping water from getting inside and irrtating the eyes when swimming.

What are the benefits for wearing goggles you ask?

Children and goggles 

If your little one hasn’t worn goggles before, get them to try them on at home for the first time as it’s a familiar environment for them. If you can, try to get them to wear them in the bath or the shower, that’ll help them to realise goggles keep the water out of their eyes. Before you know it, they’ll be dunking their head underwater the next time you’re in the pool!

If you or your little one is learning to swim, Nottingham Swim School students are encouraged to wear swimming goggles when having their lessons (or if you’re taking part in lap or competitive swimming it’s just a good idea).

Don’t delay, pick up some goggles today!

This Girl Can – Samiah’s Story

Introducing – Samiah Haleem

Samiah Haleem is an outstanding ambassador of ‘This Girl Can’ and through the campaign, she has become a pioneering leader in increasing growth and participation in Women & Girls Cricket in The Renewal Trust area in Nottingham.

With the support of This Girl Can Nottingham and The Renewal Trust, Samiah organised a Women’s Cricket softball festival in St Ann’s and was able to attract a total of 85 attendees.

Through weeks of organising and recruiting as many women as she could, Samiah’s hard work paid off. She is now exploring how we can keep these women active.


I am a British Afro-Asian (Indian-Kenyan-Pakistani with a combination of Sikh Punjabi and Turkish ancestry!) Although multi-heritage, now of Islamic faith. I was prematurely born as my mother went for a routine check whilst my father went off to play his cricket match!

My first cricket experience: My father Abdul Haleem Chaudhri and his brother Salahudin Chaudhri strived and formed a cricket club for Asian men. They were key founders/presidents of the Asian Cricket Club in the London borough of Waltham Forest in the early 1970s. Their brother Shakil Chaudhri and cousin Khalid Chaudhri later progressed to captain the team for many years playing in Essex cup leagues and internationally.


Passion for cricket

I used to watch hours and days of test cricket matches with my dad when I was young. With the favourite time being World Cup cricket. I understood patterns and band and pretty much became the scoring pundit much to everyone’s annoyance when it was going against us.

A shift in focus at college and university took me away from physical sports with very little free time. The thrill and love for watching T20 developed again and was enjoyed immensely through multiple pregnancies.

Dream big/city programmer activator project

I had heard Ian Dipaola the participation and growth officer on RadioDawn talk about walking cricket, disability cricket and how inclusive cricket is in Nottinghamshire County.

I had then seen an Allstars activator with the children at Trentbridge from the audience in May 2019. I was inspired by seeing an active sporty hijabi participating in cricket in a modest-looking way. As the law of attraction would have it I met Asma Ajaz-Ali two months later face to face via the Muslim community Organisation callout for volunteers.

Ironically at a time when I was experiencing aversion around my hidden disabilities/altered abilities (and not able to make chapattis due to my Asthma), I was lucky to meet all three of my local City Programmes Executives and to get training from Shilly Pancholi and Hina Mistry, who were all really accepting, and encouraging my involvement in the Allstars programme.

They gave me the validation I didn’t even realise I sought at the time. I was invited to a crikitty party at Edgbaston cricket ground, it was fun and liberating being part of the Desi women programme.

I love to skill-share and have run creative education and learning workshops for years. When I got bored of my delivery (pun intended) I became a sublime science presenter and did science parties for children. I was known as ‘Artist Aunty’. They now call me’ cricketwaliaunty’.

I naturally morphed and dived into the deep end and co-led the Allstar sessions in Nov 2019. They were split into 4 weeks of female delivery and 4 weeks of male delivery. Lots of women told me they felt reassured leaving their daughters at a female-led session. My input felt needed. My children helped with setting up and clearing the sessions and picking up the balls for me. Team effort!

I went on to start the Youth Mental Health First Aid Course and attained an ECB level 1 foundation course in coaching in January 2020. I joined a women’s softball session for my own re-development and led a session when the coach could not make it.

Then we were hit with the lockdown. I managed to join the Chai and chat monthly zoom sessions and felt connected. I was also given access to an empowerment course and Microsoft workshops. I requested to shadow the softball sessions at my children’s local cricket club Cavaliers & Carrington where the respected coaches were really welcoming.

As a result of my presence, parents felt confident leaving their girls at the sessions. I am looking forward to having more cricketing experiences with my daughters as well as my son’s IA.

I have become a self-appointed calling card to the programme and have shared the benefits with other ladies as I believe one should “Love for others what you love for yourself” sunnah of prophet Muhammad saw pbuh.

I have invited multi-faith groups from my community to have access to the Allstars and Dynamos programme. I am now a recognised community champion in Nottingham City for the Dream Big Desi Women Programme.

We’ve recently done allstars and Dynamos training for the new cohort, and supported a Dynamos session at a school with special guests – Trent Rockets players Katherine Brunt and Abbie Freeborn. The programme has allowed this Desi woman to Dream Big and attend a soft ball tournament at Lord’s! It was exhilarating! I have developed new contacts and shared big moments with the network. It’s been amazing!

In the stars

My connection with cricket is a connection with my memory of my father, he is right there with me every time I do the Abdul Haleem Chaudhri-esque hypnotic mantra ‘Look at the ball. Look at the ball. Keep your eyes on the ball. Look at the ball…’

Love you Dad – hope to play cricket with you when we meet in heavenIA🤲🏼🙏🏼🏏

Active Nottingham continues to shine!

With another Gold in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) awards 2021, proving we are one of the best in the business for health and safety.

The award recognises the hard work and dedication in ensuring you, our customers, have a safe and enjoyable experience every time you visit, and after winning Gold in 2019 and Overall Winner in 2020, we’re incredibly proud to have achieved another Gold this year in the Leisure Safety category.

As part of the judging process, each organisation’s commitment to continually raising health and safety standards is closely scrutinised by the panel of experts, and last year only 9 organisations within the leisure sector were awarded a Gold.

Julia Small, RoSPA’s Head of Qualifications, Awards, and Events, explains:

“RoSPA is very proud of the achievements of its entrants, and with this award we recognise the best of the best, those organisations that have gone the extra mile, raising the bar for the delivery of safety in the workplace.

Everyone, wherever they may be should be able to work and/or play safely in the knowledge that they will return home unharmed and healthy at the end of every day. Our RoSPA Award winners are central to achieving this goal. By entering they are driving up standards and setting new safety benchmarks for organisations across the world”

So, next time you visit one of our Active Nottingham leisure centres, you can be assured that we are officially one of the safest around!


Sandie checks out Wellbeats Customer Choice

I spotted the “BOOK VIRTUAL” button on the app a while ago and wondered what a Wellbeats Customer Choice class was, so last week I booked to find out and to be honest, it’s exactly what it says on the tin!

You simply book a class, and when you get in the studio space, you choose from a massive range of different digital workouts, via the touch screen on the wall, and the fitness class plays out on the big screen in front of you. Simple!

There are so many classes including core strengthening, dance, meditation, yoga, you name it!

If there are a few people booked in the session you do need to decide between yourselves which class you’re going to play on screen, but there are lots of short routines, so you could do more than one in the session, which would please everyone!

I love the idea of getting together with some friends and having a bit of giggle too!



The videos are well-produced and offer both high and low-impact moves, so you don’t need to worry about it being too difficult.

You can bring your own equipment if you like, such as weights or a mat, but these are available at the centre.

Sessions are free as part of my Active Nottingham monthly membership, but can also be booked as a “pay as you go” customer.

To see what sessions are on and have a go yourself look for the blue “BOOK VIRTUAL” button on the app, book online or call the Customer Contact Centre on 0115 8761600.

Active Nottingham wins top safety award

We’ve been recognised as world-leaders in health and safety, achieving the coveted Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Trophy 2020.

The Trophy recognises the hard work put in to ensure our customers have a safe and enjoyable experience.

After winning gold in 2019, we’ve gone one better by achieving the trophy for the Leisure Safety category.

Every year, nearly 2,000 entrants compete to achieve the highest possible accolade in the UK’s longest-running Health & Safety industry awards.

Julia Small, RoSPA’s Head of Qualifications, Awards and Events, explains:

“The RoSPA Awards scheme is the longest-running of its kind in the UK, but it receives entries from organisations around the world, making it one of the most sought-after global accolades in health and safety.”

The majority of awards are non-competitive and mark achievement at merit, bronze, silver and gold levels. While several awards are given out in each category, there is only one category Trophy given… and Active Nottingham got it!

When Active Nottingham leisure centres reopen, you can attend safe in the knowledge that we are officially the safest option for leisure.

And while we wait, why not try a free home workout?

This Girl Can returns to Nottingham

This Girl Can believes that there’s no right way to get active.

If it gets your heart rate up, it counts, and we want more women to find what’s right for them.

Since This Girl Can launched, nearly 3 million women have been inspired to get involved in physical activity, but it isn’t stopping there. With a new drive in Nottingham comes a fresh approach and the ambition to reach all areas of Nottingham.

We welcome Charm, our new Community Motivator for This Girl Can Nottingham.

Charm’s role is getting Nottingham active, and she’s been proving how good she is at it through the Covid-19 lockdown, getting whole neighbourhoods and even the Police moving their bodies (at a safe social distance).

To connect with Charm and other Nottingham women on their activity journey, find inspiration to be active, or share your journey (you can post as much or as little as you want) visit the ‘This Girl Can Nottingham’ Facebook group.

Women come in all shapes and sizes with all abilities and from all backgrounds. Some of us are expert sportswomen, some of us really aren’t. It doesn’t matter. We’re just happy that you’re getting active. If you’re still not sure that you can, we’re here to help you to figure out the way of getting active that’s right for you.

Many women are put off taking part in physical activity due to a fear of judgement, or because they have other priorities, often putting others first.

This Girl Can is about sharing real stories of women getting active or playing sport in the way that’s right for them, in all its sweaty, red-faced, jiggly glory.

We never judge, and we don’t care what other people think.

Go on, join our This Girl Can Nottingham Facebook Group!

GOGA success at Notts Getting Active Together Awards

Get Out Get Active (GOGA) Nottingham celebrated a successful night at the Notts Getting Active Together Awards!

On Thursday 5 March 2020, Active Notts hosted their second Notts Getting Active Together Awards at Lakeside Arts.

It was a fantastic evening that saw both the Get Out Get Active Nottingham project and project participants and partners win a host of awards celebrating their active journey!

Two Swim for Health participants, Glyn Plummer and Jayne Morton, stole the show winning the first two awards. Glyn was the winner of the ‘Change 4 Life’ category, awarded to an individual who has dramatically increased their activity levels over the last twelve months.

Glyn has cerebral palsy and minor Autism and uses a wheelchair. Over the last few years, Glyn has gone from doing no exercise to becoming a regular at the GOGA Swim for Health sessions, attending several times a week and building meaningful relationships with the fantastic Poolside Helpers.

Next up was the This Girl Can award, awarded to a female who has dramatically increased their activity levels over the last twelve months, won by second the Swim for Health participant of the night, Jayne Morton.

Jayne had a stroke in April 2018 which caused her to spend three months in hospital. In April 2019, Jayne and her husband Clive started swimming at the Swim for Health sessions at Southglade Leisure Centre. At these sessions Jayne was also supported by receptionist Annmarie and Swim for Health Poolside Helper Jenna.

Jayne’s progress has been fantastic!

She has progressed from needing to be completely supported in the water to beginning to swim independently. Jayne has also started to walk a little again thanks to her hard work in the pool. Jayne also undertook a sponsored swim to raise money and awareness for the Stroke Association, achieving an amazing 31 lengths.

Other winners of the night included local partner Flo Skatepark for the Active Place award and Evolve Boxing with the Live Team, an initiative developed through the GOGA project, for the Project/Initiative/Innovation of the Year award.

Finally, the GOGA project was recognised as the winner of the Inclusive Project of the Year award: acknowledging three years of amazing participants and fantastic partners across the community promoting fun and inclusive activity for all.

If you would like to be more active through fun, inclusive activity, follow ‘Get Out Get Active Nottingham’ on Facebook to find out about all the latest opportunities and ideas to remain active at home.

You can also read more about both Jayne and Glyn’s stories.

Start small


Hope you’re all keeping safe and well. Let me introduce myself: my name is Claire and I’m a Mental Health First Aid England Instructor, founder of the Mind Map project and the Anxious Exercise Club and programme lead for the Tricky to Talk programme at Nottingham Forest Community Trust.


I also live with a long-term anxiety condition, which I manage day to day. Back in 2015, I had a relapse, which made leaving my home very difficult. Some days, it took all my strength just to walk to the car to go to work – and that didn’t leave me very productive for the rest of the day! I knew that activity and exercise was good for me and that it would ease the symptoms of my mental ill health. But the anxious voice in my head was a lot louder, telling me the outside was scary and there was no point in even trying…

Towards the end of 2015, I became more and more unwell, with long term pain, muscle stiffness and overwhelming fatigue. I was referred to the hospital and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was given guidance on how to manage my condition and one of the overwhelming pieces of advice was to do more activity. I knew I had to listen to the doctors, but I also still had the anxious voice.

So, I made a compromise. I walked to the post box and back.

It was about 500 yards and I started doing it once a day. Then I walked to the church, just next to the post box, and then on to the bench. Every week, I added a small chunk onto my walk, and it didn’t feel unmanageable. Even the anxious voice quietened down. I began a circuit each evening, I simply did three or four rounds of the circuit.

This simple activity allowed me to rebuild my life. It wasn’t instant, there wasn’t a miracle cure. I still live with a long-term anxiety condition, which I manage each day. But I do experience the benefits activity can bring to my life and how it helps me to manage my anxiety.

The reason I’m writing about this today is because I’m finding myself in a very similar situation as we live in the current lockdown situation. I’ve found exercising very difficult due to fear and anxiety. So, I wanted to take some time to talk about getting active while living with a mental health condition and while living in lockdown.

Today, I went for a small walk.

It took some bargaining with the anxious voice, but I felt able to get up a little earlier and take a few steps outside. It wasn’t about distance or the amount of steps I completed; it was about breathing and feeling the sunshine.

It was about letting my whole body know that while these are extremely frightening times, these few small steps can benefit our mental wellbeing and help us to get through it.


There’s lots of information out there currently about how we can get active in our homes, which is fantastic, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. I hope this post, and future ones, will let you know you are not alone.

Looking for more inspiration?

We’ve got all sorts to help keep you moving while our leisure centres are closed.

See the resources

The sponsored swim that had us all in tears

Jayne, a regular at Southglade Leisure Centre, recently completed a thirty-length swim in aid of the Stroke Association – a feat that few healthy individuals could complete. Yet, Jayne recently suffered a life-changing stroke, leaving her with limited mobility and a long road to recovery. Enter the Swim for Health sessions, where Jenna (one of our swimming instructors) worked closely with Jayne to help in her rehabilitation – working to regain her strength as well as independence.

I arrived at Southglade on November 11th 2019 to interview Jayne. The atmosphere in the Leisure Centre was beautiful – friends and family had gathered together in support. They cheered and clapped as Jayne tackled length after length, and by the final lap, there were definitely a few watery eyes.

After the swim there were posters and banners carefully hung on the walls, and there were biscuits and coffee cups placed upon tables. People were smiling and laughing – excitedly chattering about how well Jayne had done. You could almost smell the sheer adoration and pride in the air. Sally, one of Jayne’s physiotherapists, smiled as she told me, “Swimming has been a game-changer for Jayne. After her stroke she initially found walking very difficult. She even found sitting up very difficult – she was having to be hoisted – so what she’s achieved is incredible. She lacks confidence in walking on dry land, but in the water, she says she feels free. Swimming has had huge benefits for her confidence, generally. And she’s able to get fit and exercise in water in a way that she can’t on land.”

You could tell that Jayne’s swimming instructor, Jenna, was extremely fond of her too. They would poke fun at each other and make jokes in a way that reminded me of a mother-daughter relationship. When I spoke to Jenna, she couldn’t sing Jayne’s praises enough:

“When we first met her, she couldn’t hold herself in the water – she needed three people to support her body and to keep her steady so that her face wasn’t going under. But she’s made an amazing improvement – she is fantastic. She’s done thirty-one lengths today! She did about three in her first session. It’s great. It’s great to see people grow and change and get help in recovering. Jayne’s part of the family now.”

Jenna then went on to say the same as Sally – that swimming has been paramount for Jayne and that it makes her feel free. She started laughing and also told me that Jayne enjoys a natter in the sauna with fellow Southglade-goers after her sessions.

Jayne’s husband Clive was around for moral support, too. You could clearly see his adoration for her and it was clear that Jayne’s rehabilitation journey had been a team effort between her, Clive and the lovely staff at Southglade.

When interviewing Jayne herself, it was heart-warming to see her talk about the centre with such joy. Read her interview below:

How long have you been coming to Southglade Leisure Centre?

About 8 months!

How has going to the Swim for Health sessions helped with your stroke rehabilitation journey?

It’s helped me to exercise and it’s helped my muscles, mobility and confidence. It’s been good!

And how have the staff been? How have they helped you?

Gooood! There are really nice staff.

What’s the best thing about them?

Jenna! She’s funny. I’m always laughing.

When you first started swimming, were you nervous?

Yes. There were people I didn’t know!

What’s the best bit about Southglade?

Swimming! No… the sauna!

What would you say to anyone else who has had a major health problem? What would be your encouraging words?

Swimming! Try it! Have a goal and do it! It helps – my pain’s gone and my heavy body is gone. It makes me feel fabulous and free.

What made you do the sponsored swim today?

I wanted to help people raise money to help the people who helped me.

When you saw everyone here today, how did you feel?

Fabulous! Surprised!

Now that you’ve finished the swim, how do you feel?

Good… amazing! It was hard work though! I did thirty-one lengths and the maximum amount I’ve done before is sixteen.

A to Z of Nottingham Swim School

Ever wondered why swimming is regarded as one of the most beneficial activities for young people?

Look no further than our A–Z of Nottingham Swim School to understand why.

Active –  Children that are active are happier, healthier and more able to learn.  Increased activity is essential for a child’s development.
Butterfly stroke – They’ll learn the skills to swim this more complicated of strokes during their lessons.
Competitiveness – Swimming is great for developing positive competitiveness as each child strives to achieve the next badge or move through the stages.  If they join a swimming club, they’ll experience competitive teamwork too.
Diving – Knowing how to safely launch yourself headfirst into water is a skill taught during swimming lessons.
Energy – Swimming builds your child’s muscles and lung capacity, giving them more energy to achieve.
Free stuff – All Nottingham Swim School members receive free access to all of our public swim sessions across the city! They also get a swim hat on joining and at each new stage reached too!

Graduation – As each skill is perfected your child will graduate, receiving badges, medals and certificates of achievement.
Health – Swimming is great for your child’s heart and circulation, providing natural, low-impact resistance to build muscle and release those happy endorphins.
Intelligence – Holding your breath can reportedly increase intelligence levels as swimming is the best exercise for building lung capacity, which improves the ability to take in more information.
Joints – The natural support and resistance provided by water means swimming is a fantastic activity for developing strong joints.
Kick – Each swim stroke has a different style of kick, and your child will master them all by the time they reach Stages 8-10 of our Swim School.
Lifesaving – Being able to swim is a real life saver and after all the key skills have been achieved your child can train to become a rookie lifeguard too.
Motivation – Motivational instructors will ensure your child gets the best from their weekly lessons.
No equipment necessary – Apart from a swimsuit, there’s no expensive equipment needed to swim.


Open to all – Some of our pools offer specialist sessions for children with a disability or additional needs. Some also host lessons for older children and adults.
Portal – With our Swim School portal you can track your child’s progress and move class when they’re ready.
Quality time – Whether you’re in a pool or by the seaside, swimming is a great opportunity for parents and children to bond, sharing quality time in otherwise busy lives.
Related sports – Being able to swim gives opportunities to try other sports like water polo, surfing, competitive diving or even triathlon.
Safety – Safety is an essential part of learning to swim and your child learns to be aware of hazards in and around water.
Training – To become a competent or advanced swimmer, training is essential, providing your child with a routine to follow that will set them up for life.
Underwater skills – Between stages 8 and 10 children learn underwater skills like synchronised swimming.
Vitality – Swimming’s benefits for physical and mental well-being mean your child with have more vitality and vigour.
Weight – Water is around 800 times denser than air, so your child will burn more calories, keeping your child at a healthy weight.
X-Factor – Swimming is such a great sport for health, well-being, social skills and mental attitude, your child will develop the X-Factor to help in all aspects of their life.
Year-round activity – Come rain or shine, winter or spring, swimming can be enjoyed at any time.
Zzz – Swimming uses huge amounts of energy, so your child will sleep better after exercising.

For more information visit Nottingham Swim School or call us on 0115 8761600 to book a lesson at your nearest leisure centre.

Meet Glyn: “Swimming makes me determined to do more”

Glynn Swim for Health

From doing no exercise to attending multiple Swim for Health sessions a week, Glyn has come a long way in a short space of time!

Glyn, who has Cerebral Palsy and Minor Autism and uses a wheelchair, has seen a remarkable improvement in his mobility and strength as well as a vast improvement in his mental health. He enjoys being able to get out of the house while doing something different.

Since finding out about Swim for Health, Glyn, aged 25 from Sherwood, has started swimming multiple times a week at different Swim for Health sessions.

“I started swimming mid-late summer 2018 after Dad & Rikki realised that there were Swim for Health sessions that would be great for me. I went from no swimming, to attending one session a week, to swimming constantly.

Obviously I really enjoy getting my body working. The physical benefits are really important but so are the benefits to my own well-being. I moan if we’re late for swimming or if life gets in the way of going! The sessions get me out of the house and doing something different.

I can now walk in and out of the pool rather than using the hoist. I’m also able to walk (aided, slightly) to and from the car, which I wasn’t able to do before! I’ve started sleeping better too, which gives me loads more energy! I have more strength in my upper and lower body which definitely makes doing things easier.

During the session I feel really happy and it makes me feel strong knowing that I’m actually able to do it. I get really stressed if I can’t come – swimming makes me determined to do more!

Having support is very important; swimming wouldn’t have been possible without my family to bring me here and support me in the pool.

The Poolside Helpers are also really important to me. Without Sharon I would never have reached 1,000m and without Ruth I would have never achieved my 1,500m. I would say the pool helpers are all very considerate and helpful, and super friendly and without them I wouldn’t have achieved what I’ve achieved!

To other disabled people who are thinking about being more active and taking up some form of exercise/sport but are not sure, I would say think about what you want to do first and just do it to the best of your ability. Find something you enjoy and take it at your own pace!”

To take a look at the Swim for Health Sessions and decide whether it’s for you, click to view the leaflet below.


Allyson’s Story: “I wanted to stay active and help others”

Allyson Irvine


“I contracted Meningococcal in 2014 and was really poorly, then I got sepsis and lost my legs and fingers. In the hospital rehab centre I went to the gym and did exercises which helped strengthen my muscles but when I was discharged from hospital I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to stay active and help others, so I now work as a volunteer at the Mobility Centre City Hospital and as an Activity Advisor for Limbpower.

“I completed a Nordic walking course at Clifton Campus and am one of only four amputees who have done it in the country.  It’s great for core strength and the tops of your legs and arms. It’s not difficult and is quite relaxing.

“I run a little coffee morning support group where other amputees meet and I’ve also welcomed people affected by other illnesses such as cancer, strokes and diabetes. I help lead the way and share as much information as possible about what’s available in the area. I explain to them it’s about doing what you can do. A lot of people live on their own, so it’s a social thing too.

“One member of the group, Gary hadn’t swum for 30 years so we took him and some other who wanted to try swimming to Djanogly Leisure Centre – he loves it and wants to try the gym now.”

Allyson and Gary feature in the It’s For Me campaign trailer, which is aimed at showcasing the accessible facilities at the City Council’s Leisure Centres.

Stand up to mental illnesses

Jo @ Kickback club

Jo set up the Kickback Club after having first hand experience of living with a mental illness.

I was admitted into hospital for depression in 2016. Yet, when I was discharged, I actually felt more unwell due to the trauma of being hospitalised. That was my first episode of mental illness. I found conversations and being around others difficult as the only topic on my mind was my illness and the medication I was taking. But I missed people. I still wanted to hang out but not have to say or do anything.

It all started when I asked the owner of the café on Haydn Road if he would be interested in me starting a club and he said yes! The first session was just me and my friends. Then I created a flyer and other people started coming along. Three years later we have a stable group, some people have come and gone.

For those who want to, we now do a walk at the beginning of the night which has brought more people to the club. We also do jigsaw puzzles, play games and have colouring exercises.

I have had contact with a number of mental health services, from inpatient and crisis teams, to step four counselling and charity support.

I personally found OT support in my return to work – and counselling from local charity Harmless – invaluable. Harmless helped above all others, allowing me to learn to cope with distressing intrusive thoughts, helping me to develop an understanding of my experiences, giving me coping skills and teaching me self-compassion.

As well as supporting others, the Kickback Club benefits me personally; it gets me out of the house, it makes me feel like I am doing something and it maintains a social network that might have otherwise dropped off. It has opened up new social connections and being responsible for the group keeps me going!

It’s opened up a dialogue with other people who have had similar experiences. It really helps when there is understanding and empathy, you can form an instant bond.

The Facebook page @RecoveryCrew advertises Kickback Club, and shares other local groups and activities, useful articles, and creative approaches to developing dialogue about mental illness, including cartoons, podcasts and poetry.

The club is supported by a local textile artist, Dawn Abey, who donates part of the proceeds from her “kit bags”, which are self-care bags that are available on Etsy and in Green Emporium on Haydn road.

The group’s logo and profile picture were created by local artist Katie Abey (mother and daughter team) who also encourage conversations around mental health on social media.


The Kickback Club is described as a club for people who are struggling with their mental health in Sherwood, Nottingham. Friends are welcome and it’s a safe space to relax, write, doodle, play games or just be.
They meet on the first Monday of every month at 7.30pm – 8.30pm in Divine Coffee House, Haydn Road, Sherwood. Meet outside at 6.30pm for a walk (if you want to).

Life begins at 40 for Tony

Tony Bicker Case Study Ken Martin Leisure Centre

From living in a tent in the woods to being employed by the City Council as a Fitness Advisor, life really does begin at 40 for Tony!

Tony who has been profoundly deaf since the age of seven, was referred to Nottingham Community Housing Association through the Deaf Society two years ago. His Support Worker Pete explains, “Through no fault of his own, Tony found himself living rough after being kicked out of his shared housing by his housemates. Pete worked alongside Tony to make sure he was receiving the right support and ended up getting sole tenancy of the property. “It meant I could see my daughter again”, says Tony.

Although Tony is no stranger to a gym, having trained on and off throughout his life; the experience of homelessness left him feeling defeated.

“When the opportunity came up to access the leisure facilities in a free three month trial, it was like a light bulb moment for me. I suffer from anxiety when I’m out and about so I started to use the sauna to wind down or would let off some steam in the gym where I’m surrounded by my medication – my dumbells!

“My dad was diagnosed with Cancer and I lost him in October. I’ve learnt how to talk about my feelings and share my own experiences of mental health disorders and cancer with others – so I’ve also gained some counselling skills too!

“I trained to become an instructor a while ago but missed out on a qualification by a couple of points. When the Instructability course was mentioned to me, it seemed like another chance and meant I could transform my troubles from grief into drive.

Tony admits it was difficult to go back to a learning environment when he started training at Clifton Leisure Centre but found it helped his mental health and built his confidence. “Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations helps you to grow mentally, which is just as important as physical fitness.

“I had a great tutor who waited for me to write up my notes and gave me visual handouts to help with the learning process so it was a bit of a blessing.

“After I finished my training I had a three month placement as a volunteer but there was no guarantee of a job at the end of the 12 weeks, so I could have stopped, but I continued to volunteer.

“I’m on the payroll now but I still keep my voluntary shifts – I’m paid spiritually for that!”

“The best thing about it is I can go up to and talk to anyone now, that wouldn’t have happened before. I’ve got disabled clients being referred to me. Being able to relate to and help others – it makes everything I’ve been through all worth it.”

Tony is also having a huge positive impact on others. When the Instructability scheme reopened, he referred people to it who he thought would also benefit. “Rob doesn’t like new environments and would have panic attacks”, Tony explains, “so I would help diffuse situations when I realised he was about to have an attack by taking him outside and getting him to breathe to open up his airways.”

He is also getting some sign-ups from patients being discharged from Highbury Hospital. “One of the guys I’ve been helping is thinking about becoming a Personal Trainer.”

Tony cites the support he’s received from the team at Ken Martin as being a key part of his success.

“The team have been really understanding and have allowed me to swap shifts when I’ve needed to because of my mental health and were really flexible in allowing me to complete my 1-2-1 in house qualification.

“It’s very difficult to see an opportunity when you are depressed or get anxious,” says Tony. “But there’s lots of things you can do. Talk to people around you, you might find someone in a similar boat. Walking can help by giving you thinking space. Oh and anyone with a dog, it’s like a gym on legs!

“Finding a gym buddy will help motivate you but group activities is another option worth trying. Classes get your endorphins going and you push yourself a bit harder. I think routine is important, but don’t beat yourself up. Plus, sometimes it’s just about coming along, just being here is an achievement.

“People can have a negative view of the gym but Ken Martin and other council leisure centres are so friendly. We even adjust the music to make sure we cater for different groups depending on the time of day.”

Tony added, “For some it’s a social experience, others it’s a lifestyle choice. Whatever the reason, it’s important to look after your heart and general well-being and just be happy.”



Community activator with big ambitions to make exercise more inclusive

Kelly Evans Community Activator

A trial partnership is helping up-skill Nottingham City Council employees to make exercise in Nottingham City more inclusive.

Community Activators have been working across the city for the past sixteen months, signposting people with a disability or long term illness into activities in the community or at one of the city’s eight leisure centres. One of these people, Kelly Evans, has embarked on a newly launched Level 3 Qualification delivered by HFE, the UK’s leading provider of personal training courses and fitness qualifications.

The Level 3 Award in Programming and Supervising Exercise with Disabled Clients, or simply Level 3 Exercise for Disabled Clients, is nationally recognised and awarded by one of the industry’s oldest awarding bodies, YMCA Awards. This means there’s a wealth of opportunity for Kelly to use this course up and down the country .

As one of the very few providers in the country who deliver this course, HFE are well placed to support Nottingham City Council in this new venture to up-skill their staff and serve a demographic that is currently greatly under-represented. Reports suggest that 1 in 5 people in the UK has a disability, which equates to nearly 11 million people. Unfortunately, only 18% of disabled adults undertake physical activity lasting longer than 30 minutes a week and this is compared to 38% of non-disabled adults.

Disability sport is highly important to Nottingham. Developing disability sport is a significant priority in the city’s Sport and Physical Activity Strategy (2015-2019); outlined in this is the aspiration to become ‘the fastest growing city for disability sports (physical activity) participation’.

To engage more people living with a disability or long term health condition, Nottingham City Council have taken bold steps in improving accessibility to leisure centres and enhancing the existing swim, gym and fitness offers to be more inclusive. To add to this, leisure centre staff have also taken part in some entry level disability confidence training to enable them to better advise customers who might require additional support.

Clearly, even more can and should be done to encourage disabled people to exercise and that’s why HFE have partnered with Nottingham City Council’s Active Nottingham to help up-skill staff and provide even more inclusive opportunities across their eight leisure centres.

Speaking about the potential of this partnership, Colin Eley said: ‘Working with HFE means we’re able to equip our staff with a more comprehensive knowledge-base to better support people accessing our service. We aim to empower citizens living with a disability or long term condition to feel confident when accessing our services while forming sustainable physical activity habits.”

Kelly, whose Community Activator role covers the Bulwell, Bulwell Forest, Bestwood and Basford wards, is the first Active Nottingham member of staff to take part in the new initiative, and she outlined how excited she was to start a new fitness journey:

“Having always been involved in fitness and sport I am very aware of the mental and physical benefits that exercise can have on people, regardless of where they currently are in their fitness journey.

Kelly Evans Running

“I am currently working with individuals who want to become more physically active but who find their long term conditions or disabilities a barrier. For them this means sessions that are perceived as a ‘mainstream’ exercise for all are not always suitable for their needs.

“During this course I am looking forward to learning new skills and broadening my knowledge base so I can better support individuals who have a broader variety of needs with exercise . I am hoping to be able to share this experience and outcomes from the course with other members of my team, so we can adapt and provide a more suitable/focused service for individuals with long term conditions or disabilities in the future.”

The council has just launched a new campaign – It’s For Me – to provide information about the accessibility, suitability and affordability of leisure provision in the city, reassuring citizens that they will be adequately provided for when they visit the council’s leisure facilities and take part in activities.

Jack’s experience with our Visually Impaired Tennis sessions


Jack, aged 25, who has been visually impaired from birth, travels to the Nottingham Tennis Centre once a week to play Visually Impaired Tennis and train for Regional and National tournaments around the Country.

“Give it a go, you might be better than you think.”

The Friday evening session that he attends from 6-7pm is open to all ages and abilities, with the youngest player being just ten years old.

You don’t have to be a member to play and you don’t need any expensive equipment either, as the centre provides rackets and an “audible” foam ball, which is attached to a bell to help you find its location.

In many ways, the game is the same as the national game played by the likes of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, it’s just played on a Junior Orange court with a lower net.

Jack and his fellow players are allowed one to three bounces of the ball, depending on their visual impairment, of which there are five categories: B1 (blind) through to B5 (almost fully sighted). Jack falls under B3, and so gets two bounces of the ball.


“It’s great fun and I’d love more people to play as it would give more variety at the tournaments I play in.”

Jack was just four years old when he started playing tennis after his Dad searched for a sport that they could play together. He’s really keen to create a legacy and encourage others to try it out too, at least once.

He’s so keen he even offers to mentor anyone who’s nervous about doing something new – offering to meet them at the Tennis Centre to welcome them and put them at ease.

For the last five years, Jack has regularly travelled to play both singles and doubles matches competitively in tournaments at Loughborough, Birmingham, Newcastle and London. His proudest achievement so far has been his recent reaching of the quarter finals, but he claims it’s not about winning – it’s about taking part and being active.

“There’s always someone better than the person at the top,  they just may not have started playing yet.”

Besides playing tennis and studying for his PHD at Derby University, Jack also loves walking and enjoys playing chess – something he modestly admits to being fairly good at, as he was once within the world’s top 7000 players.


Visually Impaired Tennis is just one of our specialist sessions.  Visit our Disability Activities page for other activities you can take part in.

If you live in Nottingham City and have a registered disability you can save up to 50% discount off activities, so join Active Nottingham today!

Meet Asmita: “Go for it and don’t give up”

Asmita, 55, who was born in Tanzania, contracted polio at the age of 2yrs, resulting in curvature of the spine and reduced ability to walk unaided.

When her family moved to England in 1975 she attended Aspley Wood School which focused on supporting children with special needs and it’s there that Asmita learnt to swim as part of her 1:1 physiotherapy sessions.

“I wondered how I was going to be able to swim if I couldn’t use my legs”

With her physiotherapists help she built up her upper body strength and was soon regularly swimming at Beechdale Baths and taking part in sponsor swims to raise funds for the school.

She stopped swimming when she began college, studying English, and later started as a trainee machinist at Marathon Knitwear, as part of a Youth Training Scheme working there for 17 years

It was her son, Christopher, who is also a lifeguard at Clifton, who encouraged her to start swimming again and having rekindled her passion for it. Asmita now swims five mornings a week utilising her Flexible Fitness Swim and Health Suite membership to the maximum with regular sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi sessions too.

Christopher regularly joins her in the pool before work and along with other staff, is there to help with getting in and out the water.

“I’ve lost over a stone in weight and feel better for it, my mood is brighter, I have less stress on my shoulders and I’m loving life!”

Volunteering has always played a large part in Asmita’s life, helping out at Aspley Wood School for over 16 years and she’s now heavily involved with the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service.

Having successfully completed a Level 1 Swimming Teacher Certificate as part of the InstructAbility project, you will probably see her pool side at Clifton, volunteering on Mondays and she’s hoping that she may be able to take her new skills further and look for paid teaching work in the future.

“Age is no barrier to learning and I love helping people and giving something back.”

Things haven’t always been easy for Asmita and she’s overcome many obstacles in life, but she says these have only served to make her stronger and more determined to grab every opportunity to enjoy life.

“Go for it, give yourself a chance to try something new and don’t give up!”

If you live in Nottingham City and have a registered disability you can save up to 50% discount off activities, so why not join Active Nottingham today?

My disability doesn’t stop me

say Jack who plays Visually Impaired Tennis at Nottingham Tennis Centre.

“Being able to play the sport I love, is so important to me”

I’ve played Visually Impaired Tennis nearly all my life after my Dad searched for a sport we could play together when I was 4 years old and I now regularly compete on the tournament circuit, something that I love, as I get to meet up with the other players, many of who are also now my friends.

My last regional competition was on the 15th April at Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre, Birmingham, where I competed in the B3 Category, up against other players from across the Country. For the tournaments nearer home, I tend to travel alone to, but if I’m in London or Newcastle then Dad comes too and we’ll stay overnight.

VI Tennis is played on a smaller court than usual, with a lower net and uses an audible ball so we can hear it bounce. Depending on our level of sight, we’re allowed up to three bounces before returning the ball across the net

People often ask me how I can hit the ball, but as a Category B3 I do have partial sight, so with the added noise from the bell, it’s not impossible and I also get two bounces before I have to return the ball too, which obviously helps.

The Friday night session (6pm – 7pm) at Nottingham Tennis Centre is the only visually impaired one in Nottinghamshire, as far as I know,  and the facilities are great.  Without it, I’d have to travel much further to train and that probably wouldn’t work for me, as I need to fit it in with studying at Derby University.

Other than playing tennis, I love walking and try and keep as fit and active as I can,  as having a strong core can help with balance. It’s not just about that though, it’s also about how good exercising makes me feel and competing in the sport I love playing really makes me happy.

The Tennis Foundation are working really hard to promote VI Tennis and for the first time this year they’re planning to host three Junior VI Tennis Festivals in 2018. The nearest one is at Loughborough University Tennis Centre. They’re open to children and young people of any ability who are blind or partially sighted and only cost £10.00 per person.  There’s also the added benefit that if you’ve not attended before you’ll even get a free racket, so why not join me and starting playing VI Tennis.

Recently a fellow student and friend, Vincent Chan, created this video about VI Tennis and I hope it will inspire other people to come along to the Friday night sessions at Nottingham Tennis Centre.

Visit our website for more information about disability discounts and memberships.

Completing my first half marathon

I woke up with a mass of butterflies in my stomach, this was it, today was the day!

When my alarm sounded at 06:30 on the morning of the Ikano Bank Robin Hood Half Marathon I knew I’d done as much training as I could!

I’d run 100 miles in training runs on the treadmill, in the gym at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre and also out on the road.  I’d eaten well, kept myself hydrated and applied liberal amounts of Vaseline to places I won’t mention, so it was now game face time.

Pinning my race number to my shirt really bought it home, I was ACTUALLY going to run in a half marathon!

Lining up at the start in my section, I could see a river of people; all ages and different body shapes and sizes, some looking nervous, some focused and some just looking plain daft, including a Banana, Scooby Doo and a Viking longboat!

And then we were off, tightly packed at first, but I was soon into my stride.The running went to plan for 10 miles and I was pacing exactly as I wanted and had trained for.   Miles 11-12 were hard going though and my time slowed by a couple of minutes, however the last mile and a bit felt like I was running on Air, as the support was amazing! I even managed a sprint finish and completed the race in 2 hours 39 minutes 50 seconds, coming in just behind Scooby Doo.

Running the Half marathon was a challenge and one I will definitely do again!  With the amazing support from the people of Nottingham, who lined the streets to cheer on the runners it’s a great way to improve my fitness and get the most out of my gym membership too.

I raised over £400 pounds for the Stroke Association and now it’s time to recover with some gentle swimming and a few health suite sessions and plan my next Half or even FULL Marathon!

By Marcus Shelley, Assistant Manager at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre

If you’re thinking of running the Ikano Half Marathon in 2019 (and there’s currently an early bird booking offer!), our Flexible Fitnessmembership will really help with your training.  It’s gives you access to 8 gyms, 7 swimming pools, over 400 fitness classes and health suites and through our 1-2-1 sessions with a fitness advisor, we can help with your training plan too.
Call 0115 876100 for more information or to sign up today!

Pretty Muddy 2018


Saturday 8 September saw hundreds of pink clad tutu’d ladies, and a few unicorns! gather at Holme Pierrepont for this year’s Pretty Muddy Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Active Nottingham had a corporate time slot or “wave” all to ourselves which meant that 200 staff and customers many of who are Flexible Fitness members from our 8 leisure centres all ran together and tackled the obstacles as a team to help raise money for such a great cause.

We were amazed at how many of our customers took part, and we want to say a big THANK YOU!

Charm leading the warm up

After an awesome warm up led by non other that Charm of Zumba with Charm, which got everyone in the spirit, they were ready for the off!

There was a real buzz as everyone crossed the start line and headed off to the first obstacle.

Event staff around the course were brilliant, as they supported and encouraged everyone to get as muddy as possible and have fun!

The race (not that it really is one) culminates in a rope climb and slide into a mud pit, which really made sure that everyone was covered by the time they crossed the finish line to be congratulated by friends and family that had gathered to cheer them on.

Everyone had a wonderful time and even though it was a little chilly,  everyone was proud to show off their medals at the end and many visited our stall for their free Fitness and Tennis passes.

We all know someone who’s touched by cancer and doing something like Pretty Muddy Race for Life is a great way of showing our support.

Will we be doing it again next year……you bet!

Our staff and customers

Here’s Lorna, the event organiser from Cancer Research UK, with a special message for every one of our Active Nottingham Muddy Maidens!

Meet Rayah

Rayah’s five years old and a born swimmer

Rayah started swimming before her first birthday, often going to the baby pool at Ken Martin Leisure Centre with her family on a Sunday – so she’s been in and out of the water from a young age.

Her dad Ramnik is a Flexible Fitness member, and Rayah is following in his footsteps, having already completed an obstacle fun run with her dad as well as taking part in Race for Life with her mum too.  Rayah enjoys being very active.

After starting with Nottingham Swim School this year, Rayah has just completed her first Duckling badge – getting used to the water and gaining some initial experience of being in a class environment without her parents.

Swim School is a great start for young children to get involved with fitness, and it helps build their confidence and self-esteem ready for other challenges later in life.

At this level, emphasis is on the development of basic swimming skills and water confidence through fun and games. The Swim England Duckling awards 1–4 are used within these classes. Rayah has built the confidence to be able to jump in the pool, hold her breath, paddle and kick and show the correct form using floats.

Ramnik didn’t want Rayah to be afraid of water like some of the less capable swimmers in his class when he was at school – he wanted her to feel comfortable with water from an early age. He’s keen for Rayah to have fitness and nutrition as part of her life and routine, rather than for it to become a challenge in the future.

Rayah loves blowing bubbles under water and playing with floats and splashing around – it’s really built her confidence and makes her feel happy.

What makes Swim School so great for Rayah is that she had the same teacher for Notts Gym Tots as she now does for swimming, meaning that there’s already a respectful relationship.

All the staff are friendly and helpful, and dad, Ramnik, finds the email portal updates really good and useful as it allows him to check timings and her progress at any time of the day.

It’s great to see her develop her skills in the pool each week!

Swimming at Ken Martin Leisure Centre is convenient and local. Rayah’s made friends and knows people in her swimming class from school – her parents have also got to know the other parents there, making the poolside a lot more sociable!

Rayah has just completed her first 10-week block and is eager to get back in the water for her next block of lessons after the school holidays. She can’t wait to start.

If you’d like your little one to learn to swim, visit Nottingham Swim School or call us on 0115 876 1600 to book a lesson at your nearest leisure centre.

When a non-runner takes on the Ikano Bank Robin Hood Half Marathon

Marcus, Assistant Manager at Djanogly Community Leisure Centre, spills the beans on his half marathon journey so far!
Running is something I’ve never really been that into; I’ve been a competitive canoe and kayak slalom paddler, ridden my bike down some very scary mountains, chased after my children, ran beside them as they’ve learnt to ride their own bikes, played football with the lads, but actual pavement pounding running? Well that’s what other people do, right?

This year I was watching the London Marathon and thought “hmmm, I turn 40 this year and I’ve never tried running as a sport”, and then as quickly as the thought entered my head, it slipped away, or had it?

My auntie had beaten cancer before, but it’s come back and spread to her lungs. A few days after her diagnosis she had two strokes, a day or so apart, both small but any stroke is serious.

I was at work when I saw on our internal website that there were free Ikano Robin Hood Half Marathon places up for grabs if you ran on behalf of the Stroke Association. Before I had the chance to dismiss the crazy idea, I’d signed up and secured my place in this year’s event!


Winning, but am I loving it?

I really hate running……..

When I got home my wife said, “you know that gives you 11 weeks”, followed by “If anyone can do it, you can”. I don’t think I slept that night, I’m not sure if it was excitement or fear!

I started my training plan by buying “proper” running shoes to help prevent injury, downloaded the Nike+ Run Club app as advised by a colleague, and hit the gym at work before my shift. Djanogly’s gym is great for marathon training, as you need upper body and core strength along with the ability to distance run, and there’s the health suite where you can relax too and having a Flexible Fitness membership  means I can train as often as I want, for a set monthly price.

My first 10 minutes on the running machine felt like 100, but at least my feet looked good! After just two days of gym work I ran a 15min benchmark session outside. It was pure torture.

By week two, I was still running for minutes not miles. I can’t say I was loving it, but I was doing it and by week three I was able to run for longer. Things were getting serious, I had even brought a phone holder for my arm!

I am now 5 weeks into my training plan and covered 23 of the 82 miles I need to complete by “Race Day”, that’s 13 training runs out of my scheduled 41, leading to the BIG ONE.

I’ve still not had “that” moment where running becomes an amazing soul enhancing thing that runners rave about, but I do feel fitter.

There’s just 6 weeks until “Race Day” so whether the running gods strike me with that lightning bolt of running love or not, ultimately I’m doing this for a great cause, I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying something new.

If you’d like to help me through this, as I try and become a runner you can spons

or me at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Marcus-Shelley2

OR Text MSHE88 £1 to 70070 to sponsor just £1.00

Thanks for reading.

Check out Active Nottingham’s website for more information about their Flexible Fitness membership, which isn’t just for marathon runners!

At least my feet look good!

Erica – 6 months later

“It’s all change on the job front”

Erica, is another of our faces from our January Flexible Fitness Membership Campaign.  Her story was really popular, resonating with many of you and inspiring you to take up a Fitness membership package and start your journey to a healthier, happier you. 

Having lost over 8 stone, Erica had also stopped smoking and drinking and managed to come off oxygen, which had been helping her to breathe for a long time.  With all these changes, Erica became so much fitter and healthier and had returned to work as a cleaner at Queens Medical Centre, which meant she was on her feet much of the day.

It’s been 6 months now and we thought we’d catch up with Erica again to see what’s happening in her life and how she’s feeling.

“After a diet free holiday I’m back on my fitness and healthy eating regime.”

“Losing weight and getting fitter motivated me to change my career and aim to do something I’ve always wanted and last month I achieved it, starting my new job as an auxiliary nurse at the Queens Medical Centre.  I’ll miss the Rapid Response team but I’m looking forward to a new challenge and I’m sure I’ll still see my old colleagues regularly.

I’ve recently completed four intense weeks of training for my new role, which were really full on and meant that I wasn’t able to get to classes and swimming at Clifton Leisure Centre as often as I did before, but I still managed to take some time to exercise as I know how much it helps me relax during busy or stressful times in my life.

My hubby and I have just got back from a wonderful holiday in Greece which I have to admit has been “diet free” so I have gained a few pounds, but I know I need to re-focus and get back on both my healthy eating and exercise regime and have already booked 10 different classes already, starting Friday.

“When I think back to how I was, getting out the chair was a struggle.”

I’m aiming for those few extra pounds to be gone before I take part in this year’s Pretty Muddy Race for Life, in September as an Active Nottingham Muddy Maiden with 199 other leisure Centre customers and staff.  There’s still places if you’d like to join me?

You can even save 30% off the entry fee, simply by quoting NOTTSC30 when you sign up at goo.gl/e4CxPj but be quick as there’s not many places left.”

If, like Erica, you want to make a change, whether it’s losing weight or just leading a healthier lifestyle, why not sign up to Flexible Fitness today?

Ramnik – 6 months later

As one of the faces of our January Flexible Fitness Campaign, Ramnik appeared on banners across the City and on all our social media channels.

It’s been a fantastic experience, feeling that I’m inspiring others to exercise.


His story reached out to many, inspiring you to be more active and make some really positive health and lifestyle choices.

It’s been 6 months now and we recently caught up with Ramnik again: here’s what he said………

“Wow, what a six months it’s been!

I’ve very nearly completed my Level 2 qualification in Gym Instructing along with gaining my CPD’s (Continuous Professional Development) in TRX Suspension Training and Kettlebells Training, to be shortly followed by Circuits, Group Training, Strength and Conditioning, and Boxing & Pad work!”

“If I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it wholeheartedly.”

I’ve been busy launching my new website and I’ve also started delivering sessions in One2One Personal Training!  I shot my first professional fitness video this month for release on social media later this year too, it’s all very exciting!

“My Flexible Fitness Membership is still proving to be great value for money as exercise is a great way to relax after a busy day at work.

I increased my training regime earlier this year, to compete in ‘Tough Mudder’ at Belvoir Castle in May where I challenged myself to run 10 Miles and completed all 27 obstacles. It was hard, but great fun and really rewarding; it’s amazing what you can achieve when you challenge your mind and body.

Obviously as a member, increasing my visits to the gym doesn’t cost me any more money, no matter how many times I train a week.”


“My little girl is following in my footsteps by joining Nottingham Swim School.  She’s just completed her first 10 weeks and is loving it!

She did a 5k Race for Life last week for Cancer Research, which is pretty impressive for a 5 year old.

Lastly, but probably most excitingly, I’m going to start my Level 3 Personal Traini

ng Diploma at the end of this month and I’m expecting to start work this summer once I’m qualified. You never know I could be delivering a class in a local leisure centre soon!”

“It really has changed my world for the better…”

If Ramnik’s story has inspired you, sign up to Flexible Fitness TODAY and pay no joining fee*! Get down to your nearest leisure centre or call us on 0115 876 1600 and take your first steps towards a healthier, fitter, happier you!

*Offer ends 30th June 2018

Meet Isabelle

Isabelle’s a 6 year old swimmer with Nottingham Swim School

“She’s like a little mermaid, she’d sooner be underneath the water than on top.” Mummy’s little mermaid

When Mum Leanne, a keen swimmer when she was younger, took Isabelle to her first Water Babies Class at Beechdale Swimming Pool, aged just 8 weeks old, she hoped her little baby would like it.  But Isabelle did more than….. she loved it from the start!

Isabelle learned really early on to hold her breathe under water and kick back to the side, which are some of the key safety skills taught at the class and by gaining water confidence at such an early age Isabelle was able to swim 5 metres by the age of just 2 years old!

She started Nottingham Swim School lessons in August 2015 and has since gone from strength to strength, building stamina and learning the right techniques.  She achieved her 400 metre badge at just 5 and since then has progressed to being able to swim 2200 metres.

She can confidently swim butterfly, but Mum says the breaststroke took a little longer to get the timings right, due to the co-ordination needed.

Her favourite part of her lessons are swimming back stroke, diving, practicing race starts and mastering the tumble turn, which has proved invaluable for her Individual Medley Time Trails at Northern Swimming Club, which she joined in January 2017.

Along with attending her regular Swim School lesson at Clifton Leisure Centre she also enjoys the Swim School Quackers sessions where she’s learning invaluable lifesaving skills including how to swim fully clothed.

Being a member of Northern SC, means she now trains 3 times a week at Harvey Hadden Sports Village which she loves as she enjoys being with the other swimmers, some of who are family too.

“As parents, it’s important that both our girls are safe around water, especially when we go on holiday, so we can relax a little.

Proud of her achievements

Practicing diving on holiday

She recently took time trails in 100m free style, 50m fly, 100m breaststroke and 100m individual medley and swims with swimmers at the club meets who are much older than her.

She thoroughly enjoyed the recent fun gala at Harvey Hadden in March, as she can’t compete in galas at club level until she’s 8, something she can’t wait for.

Outside of swimming Isabelle loves singing, dancing and being on stage, but you’ll also find her in the pool having fun with friends, especially as she can SWIM FOR FREE as a Nottingham Swim School member.

Being active is important for their health too, they work hard at school and exercising is a great way to wind down. When Isabelle comes out the pool, she’s really happy with herself for what she’s achieved.

If you’d like your little one to learn to swim, visit Nottingham Swim School or call us on 0115 8761600 to book a lesson at your nearest leisure centre.

Kicking cigarettes and drinking in to touch

By Erica, Flexible Fitness member since 2015

“I used to smoke 60 a day, maybe more and would drink 6 or 7 pints on a night out”

Giving up smoking and controlling the amount of alcohol I drank, has been two of the best things I’ve ever done to improve my life, apart from going to that first fitness class at Clifton Leisure Centre!

Not only has it meant that I’m off the breathing apparatus, but I’m not taking on board all those calories hidden in alcohol too,  which has helped towards the 8 stone in weight I’ve lost so far!

Once I’d decided to stop smoking, encouraged by my husband, I bought the nicotine chewing gum to help with the cravings.

I’d smoked for so many years that I needed something to do with my hands so I started cross stitching, which really helped.



I’d heard about New Leaf, but if I’m honest, I found that stopping smoking was easier than losing weight and so I managed to do it without any outside help.

I did have the support of my whole family though, who knew that it would mak

e such a difference to my health.  My husband was brilliant and even my boys gave me advice on managing the cravings.

I’ve never totted up what I’ve saved since stopping, but it must be an absolute fortune and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending the extra money on treats for my family especially my grandchildren.

I didn’t drank every day, but would always drink at the weekends whether I stayed in or went out and during the summer I could drink every day when it was hot.

The amount I drank was sometimes more than my entire recommended daily amount of calories and if I went on holiday I’d probably drink even more too so,  stopping really has had a huge impact on my weight loss.

Nowadays, I no longer buy alcohol for the house, as I know it makes me gain weight and I much prefer a cuppa anyway!  If I’m on a night out, I might treat myself to a drink, but it’s very much in  moderation as I now know the harm it can do.

If you want help making a change to your lifestyle, sign up to Flexible Fitness for only £9.99 today.

Food hacks for a healthier you

By your Fitness Advisor Team

We’re often asked for advice on changing eating habits, so we thought we’d pull all our top tips together into one place.

Eating a healthy breakfast will set you up for the day.
Research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner and dieters are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off, so opt for whole grains and fruit and you’ll be much less likely to snack during the day, especially if you also eat a healthy lunch and dinner too!

Try swapping your plate for a smaller one.
It’s really simple but can be an effective weight loss tool, as it helps with portion control. Serving your dinner on a  smaller plate means it will look as if you’ve got more to eat and can “trick” your mind into being satisfied.

If you have time, try and keep a food diary.
It’s very easy to forget what you’ve eaten throughout the day, if you don’t record it. By tracking your food intake you’ll be able to spot bad habits and change them into healthy o

nes!  At the very least, it will remind you about those couple of biscuits you had for elevenses when you’re deciding whether to have a dessert after dinner.

You may have heard the saying, ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ 
This is so true when you are trying to stay on the healthy route to weight loss. By planning and preparing your meals in advance, you’ll be able to stay on track and you’ll stop being so tempted  to reach for the sugary snacks.

Getting your “5 a day” can really help! 
By eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, which are full of fibre, you’ll feel fuller for longer.  Try adding a handful of berries and slices of banana to your breakfast:  adding onions and mushrooms to bolognaise sauce or lasagne or adding and handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn to a shepherds pie can easily increase your vegetable intake with little or no effort.

Look out for the traffic light system on food packaging.
Nutrition labels can help you choose the right products and keep a check on the amount of foods you’re eating that are high in fat, salt and added sugars.  By comparing these labels when out shopping, you can easily make better choices and still enjoy your favourite foods.

Drink plenty of water!
Did you know that we often confuse feeling hungry with actually being thirsty!  Keeping hydrated throughout the day can stop you from over eating, it’s also great for your complexion and increases energy & relieves fatigue, which is perfect if you’re planning a trip to the gym after work!

Finally, don’t completely ban your favourite foods.
Plan to treat yourself once a week will help stop the cravings.  Enjoying a bacon butty OR small bar of chocolate at the weekends will mean you’re more likely to stick to your healthy eating routine till it becomes a normal way of life.

My top tips on making it work

By Kelly, Flexible Fitness member since 2009

I’m an Account Manager for a Recruitment Agency.

The products are seasonal which can affect the hours I work, normally around 9 hours, but during busy times I can work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, it really is that  demanding.

I use to have an office based job, working in a Call Centre. which had no physical element to it at all.

I enjoyed it, but had to change my lifestyle when it started to affect my mental health, as I found I had no energy or drive and my attendance wasn’t great either.

Some days I cannot be bothered to go to the gym, especially after a long day at work. If I’m in this mind set I don’t set unrealistic targets and I’ll pick a slow activity like Yoga or swimming.

I have set days that I train and I do my upmost to keep to them, but things change and I’ll have to work around it. I don’t beat myself up if I can’t make the gym though, as I find it doesn’t help, I’ll just set a goal f

or the next training day and focus on that.

I also find it really helps to prepare my meals a couple of days in advance, mostly my lunches, and Ihave two fridges at home for all the fresh fruit and veg we eat.

I always make sure I eat breakfast but if I have to go to work extra early,  I take it with me, as I find I can’t eat too early.

Regaining my confidence

By Mina – Flexible Fitness member since 2013

After “eating for two” during my pregnancy and gaining 5 stone in weight before my due date,  I knew that I really needed to do something about it once my daughter arrived, but being overweight had really affected my confidence.

Taking part, for the first time, in one of Tina’s classes, was the best move I’ve ever made, as she made me feel really welcome right from the start and she was so supportive of me as a beginner too.

By offering the option of low intensity moves and making me feel comfortable about my own ability, she allowed me to feel completely ready before I stepped up to the high intensity moves that the majority of the class were doing.

This was much better than me hurting myself early on by trying to do too much and pulling a muscle.

Tina supported and encouraged me in achieving a 100% effective workout too, which is

great as I didn’t want to go to classes and give just 50%, I wanted to see results and I knew that meant giving more.

Because I didn’t feel confident about myself, I used to hide at the back of the class, so that no one could see when I went wrong and didn’t do the routine properly.

I was also worried about my weight, but now, when I look back, I don’t know why I was so worried as there are people of  all shapes and sizes in the classes and not everyone is slim and fit.

I stayed at the back of the class for about a year, even though by then I knew all the moves and gradually as my confidence grew I started to creep towards the front.

The more I got stronger and made friends with some of the amazing ladies in the classes, the more I felt my confidence return.

I now love being at the front of the class, picking up on Tina’s energy and I’m much more happy now I’ve gained back most of my confidence.

If you want help making a change to your lifestyle, sign up to Flexible Fitness for only £9.99 today.

Meet Kelly

…A 33-year-old recruiter who works in the food industry

“I wanted to be able to climb the stairs without getting out of breath…”

Kelly’s journey started in 2009, when she attended her first group cycling class at Nottingham Tennis Centre.

She’d been dieting for a while with a work colleague who’d recommended the class as Kelly hadmentioned she also wanted to work on her legs.

That first class was something Kelly will never forget – she had to leave after 20 minutes, as exercising at that level made her feel really ill. When the class finished, the instructor tracked her down and reassured her that everyone has to start somewhere and that she shouldn’t feel silly or self-conscious.

For the next six weeks, Kelly attended the group cycling class once a week, and, as her fitness improved, she added to her routine until she was attending three times a week.

It took six months before Kelly felt brave enough to go into the gym, but an inner drive to learn how to run drove her onto the treadmill. At first, she practised one-minute run/walk intervals to build up her stamina, then she felt confident enough to run outdoors.

She ran her first park run at Colwick Country Park and loved it, and she was soon planning to compete in the Harvey Hadden 10k, which she completed in 54 minutes. Her hard work and commitment culminated in her completing the 2016 Robin Hood Half Marathon in 2 hours and 8 minutes!

Through dedication and effort, Kelly has lost 5 stone, down from 14, and her size 16–18 clothes have been swapped for size 8s.

“Going to the gym was nerve-racking, but I now value myself more and see training as a treat. It’s ‘me time’, like having my nails done.”

Kelly’s happier and much more confident, and she’s made so many friends at the Tennis Centre. She’s more sociable and friends are often heard asking her advice on training and fitness.

She takes her nephew swimming at Harvey Hadden Sports Village, which is something she wouldn’thave dreamed of doing before, as she didn’t want to be on show. She was the first on the trampoline with him at his recent birthday party too!

Kelly admits to having no co-ordination at all and is often seen doing her own thing in classes…

“Don’t set unrealistic targets, be kind to yourself and don’t be scare to make mistakes!”

If, like Kelly, you’d also like to work towards a fitter, happier you, check out Flexible Fitness today.

Making time to be fit and active

by Erica, Flexible Fitness member since 2015

“I used to be able to train at any time of the day, but now I work 6 days a week…”

When I first started classes, I used to do one or two a week. But, the more I saw the weight drop off and the fitter I became, the more I started to do.

My job as a rapid response cleaner at Queen’s Medical Centre, working the afternoon/evening shift, means that I have to be really determined to keep up with my fitness routine. I swim on Mondays, which I love, and I do four back-to-back fitness classes before heading off to work.

On Tuesdays, I look after my granddaughter, but I still manage a quick swim, then Wednesdays and Thursdays it’s more swimming and classes and Fridays it’s Aqua Fit. On Saturdays, I do Body Attack and Sundays I’m back in the pool. I even go on my days off work!

I try and do 10 classes a week, as I love exercising in a group: it’s loads of fun, and I find they really motivate me, much more than training on my own. If I was asked, I don’t think I could really pick one favourite, as I like them all. But, if pushed, I’d probably choose Bums, Tums and ThighsBody AttackFight Klub and Boogie Bounce as some of the best.

There’s a lot of different instructors and they’re all great – I get on well with them and they really motivate everyone to work as hard as they can.

I get really excited when a new class is launched, as I love trying them out! If you’d asked me a few years ago, though, I don’t think I would have liked any… it’s funny how I’ve changed.


Erica on holiday in 2015

Every now and again, I’ll chat with one of the fitness advisors, as One2Ones are free as part of my membership. They’re really good for help and advice and keep me focused on my goals.

When I’m not in the gym or at work, I love to walk… a lot! I try and use the stairs as much as possible, as I don’t really like lifts, and I recently got a wristband monitor, which tells me how many steps, calories and miles I’ve done, and I love it! It’s great to have a target to aim for each day.

When I look back at where I was two years ago, I can’t believe how much I do now and it just goes to show how things can change, even as you get older.

If you want help making a change to your lifestyle, sign up to Flexible Fitness for only £9.99today.


Erica at her son’s wedding in 2017

Meet Mina

…a 33-year-old stay-at-home mum

“I used to stand at the back of the class and hide, but now I feel so much more confident and want to stand at the front.”

Mina first started going to the gym at John Carroll Leisure Centre when she was 18, with the goal of getting fitter.

This was before the centre’s transformation programme, when the gym was in the “tin hut” at the side of the main building. At the time, Mina “paid and played”, attending the gym when she could. But it wasn’t until after the birth of her youngest daughter, five years ago, that she started to take her health and fitness seriously – having realised how much harm she was doing to her body.

“I used the excuse of eating for two while I was pregnant. I was told by the doctor at 8 months to rein it in, as I’d put on well over 5 stone.”

Post-baby, Mina was an 18–20 dress size, and she decided after just four months to start back at the gym, but soon felt she wasn’t achieving what she wanted to. It was on one of her visits that she was introduced to Tina, one of the fitness instructors at John Carroll, who encouraged her to try one of her classes.

“Tina really brought me out of my shell: she can read me and pushes me when she knows I have more in me than I think.”

Mina started to attend Tina’s classes at other leisure centres, trying out Bums, Tums and Thighs and, later, Zumba, which she really enjoys, as it’s aerobic as well as great fun.

Mina currently manages two classes every day, fitting it in around school drop-off and pick-up. She tries to eat healthily too, but admits to having good and bad days.

“I didn’t want to be super fit and shredded… I just wanted to be fitter and stronger. I don’t weigh myself; I go on inches lost and how my clothes fit.”

Doing so many classes a week, Mina realised that a Flexible Fitness membership would be the best option for her and she joined three years ago.

She now wears size 12–14 clothes and feels great!

If, like Mina, you’re looking to push yourself and feel more confident, check out Flexible Fitness today.

That feeling when…

by Ramnik, Flexible Fitness member since 2011

Training and being physically active simply makes me feel good inside and out.

It’s a natural high, because I know I’m doing my mind, body and soul some good. We can all spend money on material possessions, but many of us invest very little time and money in exercise and nutrition.

Sometimes I struggle with time being a single dad – maintaining a career and managing a home – so I’ll go for a quick 15-minute intense HIIT session at the gym closest to my home. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you just focus on quality over quantity and being able to go to any leisure centre means I can pick and choose which one suits best.

There are times when I feel like I’m too exhausted to train, but I know the best way to fight fatigue is by being active. The endorphin rush helps with how tired I feel and replaces it with “feel-good vibes”. I also find that being active helps me sleep much better too.

Since I started to take health and fitness more seriously, I’ve noticed one big change: when I achieve a new goal, through hard work and willpower, I now ask more of myself, accepting challenges I thought I could never do. I’ve found myself becoming mentally stronger and able to tackle life’s battles much better!

Before I started to train I used to struggle with depression and anxiety and, like many of us, the crazy pace of life affected me far more than I realised. Exercise has changed all that, and I’m now in a much better place, with a positive outlook on life and a drive to succeed.

When we approach any obstacle in life, we can sink or swim, run or hide, break down or overcome. It just takes a degree of self-belief and a “can-do” attitude. Most of us talk a great game, yet may find it hard to bring it to life.

I feel that being physically active works for my mind as much as for my body.

To find out more about how a Flexible Fitness membership can help you feel good, both inside and out, call 0115 876 1600 or pop into one of our leisure centres and join for £9.99 until the end of February.

Meet Alan and Jo

Alan’s a 70-year-old retired plasterer and handyman

“After my first time on a treadmill, I felt like I was floating, like I’d done something amazing.”

Alan’s been going to Clifton Leisure Centre for more years than he can remember – first bringing his children, then his grandchildren, to teach them to swim, as he believes it’s one of the most important things to learn.

Before retiring, work meant Alan was very physically active, but, like others in his family, he still carried a little extra weight and, at age 50, was around 14 stone.

Alan used to enjoy cross-country running at school and was good at it, but, when he left school, work and life seemed to get in the way and he stopped.

At the age of 50, while on holiday with the family in Skegness, Alan was drawn to the holiday park’s gym and somehow managed a whole mile on the treadmill. After that, he was hooked!

He started to use the gym at the Clifton Leisure Centre, gradually increasing his distance, and people started to notice he was losing weight. He now weighs around 10 stone.

“I eat, but I’m conscious… watching salt, sugar and fat without going overboard.”

At 59, Alan started to road run with his friend, Paul. That year, without telling anyone, Alan also enrolled for his first Robin Hood Half Marathon, which he completed in just over two hours!

Alan’s wife, who’s 75, enjoys swimming with him at Clifton and likes walking regularly too.

“She’s already fit and active, but I encouraged her to join me as it’s lovely to spend time together.”

Last year, Alan teamed up with Jo (37), another Flexible Fitness member, who, through Alan’s support, guidance and mentoring, managed to run her first ever Half Marathon in aid of Cancer Research and in memory of her mum.

They’ve become good friends and can regularly be seen training together in preparation for this year’s event.

After a break from the gym due to work pressures, Jo now trains every morning, mixing the treadmill with weights and floor work, and she can’t think of a better person to partner with.

“I don’t know what I’d do without Alan motivating me… he’s like a Dad to me.”

Jo really enjoys going to the gym, and her and Alan have a laugh together while they’re training – she’s recently been showing Alan how to do “the plank”, to help with his core strength!

“You should go to the gym to enjoy yourself, meet new friends and be happy, that way you’ll keep going.”

There are days, since losing her Mum almost a year ago, when Jo finds it hard to motivate herself, but all it takes is a quick phone call from Alan, encouraging her to get to the gym, and she soon finds that her mood lifts and she’s back on track.

They currently run 5 miles twice a week in the gym and, when the weather warms up a little, they’ll be back out road running up to 10 miles on Sundays too.

“Running the Half Marathon with Alan last year was an amazing experience, and crossing the finish line together was incredible… I’m really looking forward to taking part again and, you never know, I might beat him this year!”

Get fit and meet new people, like Alan and Jo, with a Flexible Fitness membership check out Flexible Fitness today.

6 snacks under 100 calories perfect for kids

Headlines have hit urging parents to reduce children’s snacking to only two snacks a day. The added thing to think about is that they’re all to weigh in at 100 calories each. A discovery by Public Health England found on average, primary school age children eat at least three sugary snacks a day. As well as their main meals! Even Celebrity Masterchef winner and mum, Lisa Faulkner is jumping on the bandwagon to support this initiative!

Of course we’d all like to keep our kids healthy and happy, but, who has time to count calories when you’re trying to run a family home and everything else on your plate (excuse the pun!)? Interested in making your kids healthy snacks? Here are 6 tasty options that all come in at 100 calories or less. Kids will love them!

1. Savoury – Rice Cakes and Cheese

Kicking off our savoury snacks is a crunchy and cheesy dream. Lightly-salted rice cakes with low fat cream cheese or cheese triangle! One supermarket own brand lightly-salted rice cake comes in at 27 calories. Two of these with a Laughing Cow light triangle on each comes in at under 100 calories.


2. Sweet – Fruity Yoghurt Sundae
This one is perfect for a weekend snack or an after dinner treat because it’s sweet and feels like a pudding. Berries are fantastic because they’re packed with antioxidants and essential C vitamins. Plus they’re delicious to boot. 100 grams of 0% fat Greek style yoghurt, 40g of raspberries and 40g of blueberries comes in at 98 calories. This should be around 8-10 raspberries and around a tablespoon of blueberries.

Don’t worry too much about the exact weighing out of the yoghurt. If you start to weigh it out on the scales to start with, you’ll learn how many spoonfuls it is to the weight. It’ll soon become second nature and it’ll be quick to do!

Want to sweeten the yoghurt a tiny bit more? Mash up some of the raspberries and swirl them around in the yoghurt for natural flavouring. You could even pop it in the freezer for half an hour and make it more like frozen yoghurt – dessert in a flash!


3. Savoury – Cheese & Crunchy Veg Sticks

Sometimes, all you need is a little crunchy snack, isn’t it? Kids feel the same – this is why they love crisps so much! Give them that savoury hit and some crunch at the same time. Why not try a mini picnic of Babybel cheese, carrot sticks and cucumber batons? This will definitely fill them up and it’s great finger food if they’re chilling out watching a movie. A mini Babybel light comes in at 42 calories. 100g of cucumber batons (around a two inch portion chopped up) is 16 calories and 50g of carrot sticks are 20 calories. Sorted.


4. Sweet – Peanut Butter on Toast

Kids love toast. It’s comforting, delicious and luckily for the parents, it’s easy! One slice of supermarket white Danish loaf is usually around 50-55 calories. 9-10g (a good teaspoon!) of natural peanut butter is also around 50 calories. You can pick up organic and natural peanut butters in most good supermarkets. These will be free from refined sugars, nasty trans fats and hydrogenated oils. They don’t taste much different. You could even mix the two together to begin with to wean children off the sugary stuff!


5. Savoury – Boiled Eggs & Ham Snack Pots

This one is perfect for lunch boxes, Saturday brunch and after school snacks. A boiled egg is around 65-80 calories, depending on size, and a slice of ham is usually 20 calories. This little snack has the added protein element that will keep kids fuller for longer. It rocks in at 10g of the healthy stuff – winner! Pop some tomato ketchup on the side and this is a surefire winner.


6. Sweet – Popcorn

Let’s be honest, as much as we try, not everything our kids eat will be fresh and not from a packet. Occasionally, it’s so much easier to pop a packet in your bag when out and about. Or, grab one from the cupboard when rushing around at home – you’re busy! Never fear, we have the answer. Popcorn is a great, low calorie snack that is tasty. Brands like Propercorn have created smaller packs for kids that come in at 12g and a tiny bit over 50 calories. So, if they’re really starving – they can have two!


There we have it, 3 sweet and 3 savoury snack ideas to keep kids going between main meals. All are easy to whip up and all are 100 calories or under. Of course, there are tonnes of other snacks that are around 100 calories.  A medium banana is around 100 calories. Packets of lentil crisps are usually under 100 calories and apples come it at 70. There are loads of options that are lower sugar than your average snack. These will keep kids fuller for longer and healthier in the long run.

Happy snacking!

Words: Allie Redmond

Did you know you can speak to one of our Fitness Advisors about healthy eating and how it can help with you fitness levels and health? You can do this by booking your One2One Programme as part of your Flexible Fitness membership! To book your One2One Programme, pop into your nearest leisure centre or call us on 0115 876 1600.

Meet Erica

A 48-year-old rapid response cleaner at Queen’s Medical Centre

In March 2015, Erica’s husband of 30 years made a bet that she wouldn’t be able to stick to a gym membership.

She hadn’t had much success with all the Slimming World and Weight Watchers diets and DVDs over the years, only losing a pound or two here and there.

Despite dreading it at first, all it took was for her son’s mother-in-law to bring her along to a Bums, Tums and Thighs exercise class at Clifton Leisure Centre, and she was hooked.

After six weeks, trying all the different classes, Erica stayed on track with her Flexible Fitness membership, and she’s since lost 8 stone and returned to work after 25 years.

“I’m tired, but I still go… I feel lethargic if I don’t, so I have to keep it up.”

And not just any old work either – Erica works six days at the hospital and ends up racking up around 28 miles on each shift!

Erica goes to Clifton Leisure Centre regularly – sometimes up to ten times a week – fitting in her exercise before she starts work in the afternoons.

“I like going there… I go and chat to everybody. It’s a close community.”

Erica has found that regular exercise, and swimming in particular, has helped her to live a much healthier lifestyle in every aspect – kicking her 80-a-day smoking habit, cutting down on drinking and generally being more active.

This has made a huge difference in helping to manage her long-term illness – she no longer has to use a breathing machine and has become much less reliant on medication. It’s also made a real difference when it comes to spending time with her family and three young grandchildren.

“I couldn’t even get out of the chair before… Now I can run all over!”

If, like Erica, you want to make a change, whether it’s losing weight or just leading a healthier lifestyle, check out Flexible Fitness today.

Meet Ramnik

…A 39-year-old learning and development trainer and freelance photographer

“If I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it wholeheartedly.”

Ramnik started training at the gym when he was 26 years old.

Like a lot of people, he wanted to get lean… but his main goal was to improve his overall wellbeing. For Ramnik, training is less about vanity and bulking up and more about de-stressing and being healthier in every sense of the word.

“I’ve gone through anxiety, a lot of hardship… Everyone’s got baggage in their lives, and the gym is a great place to let that go.”

Ramnik started his Flexible Fitness membership 7 years ago, with a free One2One Programme at Ken Martin Leisure Centre. Throughout the four sessions, Angie, one of the fitness advisors, provided tailored advice and support.

Soon, Ramnik started circuit training classes and began to take his fitness more seriously – learning about anatomy and nutrition through online research and talking to his trainers.

He’s since gone on to participate in triathlons and other endurance Obstacle Course Race events, and he’s currently training for Tough Mudder in May this year.

“Every New Year, everyone wants to diet, everyone wants to go to the gym… Fitness is a lifestyle. It’s something that becomes part of what you do. And you keep doing it.”

Ramnik makes use of his Flexible Fitness membership 3–6 times a week, at leisure centres across the city. Though he mainly uses the gyms – for bodyweight training, HIIT, spinning, and running – Ramnik also enjoys swimming occasionally and relaxing in the health suites.

He’s now taken his interest in fitness to the next level, having started a Level 2 Diploma in Fitness Instructor, with plans to progress to a Level 3 in Personal Trainer next.

When he’s not working, training or studying (!), Ramnik is a busy dad to his 4-year-old daughter. Taking after her dad, she’s already completed Notts Gym Tots Level 1 and run a 3k to raise money for breast cancer research!

“It really has changed my world for the better…”

If Ramnik’s story has inspired you, check out Flexible Fitness today and take the first step towards a healthier, fitter, happier you.