The management of seven leisure centres in Tower Hamlets has been brought in-house to the council (on 1 May 2024), following the expiration of their contract with GLL (Better).

Whilst leisure centres close across the country, Tower Hamlets Council is investing in its leisure offer to promote healthier communities.

The new service, Be Well, will focus on a holistic view of health and wellbeing, alongside increasing participation and access for residents with a focus on women and girls, older adults, and people at risk of, or living with, a long-term condition.

It will offer a range of new benefits for residents, including: 

  • free swimming for women and girls over 16 and men over 55 (from summer 2024).
  • access to six leisure centres under one membership.
  • new fitness equipment and class programmes.
  • health and wellbeing classes and programmes. 
  • upgrades to centres including the spa at York Hall, a new spin studio at John Orwell and refurbished pitches at Mile End.

The new service will also maximise opportunities for residents to pursue a career in the leisure sector once vacancies are available.

The council is also investing over £55m in a new leisure centre and housing facility that will be built on the site of St George’s Leisure Centre in Shadwell, providing more and better-quality leisure facilities alongside new homes for residents.  

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Cllr Maium Talukdar, Deputy Mayor, and Cllr Iqbal Hossain, Cabinet Member for Culture and Recreation, joined local community groups to celebrate the official reopening of the leisure centres at a celebratory event on 7 May at Mile End Leisure Centre and Stadium.

Pupils from St Paul’s with St Luke’s Primary School, Tower Hamlets Community Disability Learning Service (CLDS), Olympic coach Christopher Zah, and athletes Hayley McLean and Columba Blango also joined the celebrations.

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

“I am delighted to welcome new and existing customers to Be Well.

“The new service prioritises creating opportunities and increasing access to leisure services for those groups who have difficulty doing so – with a focus on women and girls.

“Tower Hamlets has a high prevalence of people living with a long-term condition, alongside a high rate of children living with excess weight.

“Investing in our leisure service is one of many steps we are taking to tackle health inequalities and improve health outcomes for Tower Hamlets residents.”

Cllr Iqbal Hossain, Cabinet Member for Culture and Recreation, said:

“Be Well will provide high-quality services for residents delivered through health, wellness and play.

“The new service features targeted programmes and interventions to remove barriers and bring communities together, to create a healthier borough.”