Sep 19, 2019 Last Updated 10:52 AM, Aug 14, 2019

Renewed vitality

Published in Leisure
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Impulse Leisure has registered charity status and is a not-for-profit organisation, which operates seven leisure facilities in West Sussex and Essex. The centres provide affordable, accessible leisure facilities including fitness suites, swimming pools, tennis courts and indoor sports halls, crèches, and a golf course.


Chanctonbury Sport and Leisure Centre is located in the heart of the affluent Storrington Village in West Sussex. Impulse has managed the centre, which currently has more than 1100 members, for four years. In the last six months – work began in August 2014 – the 1404m² centre has seen a £740,000 overhaul to ensure it is fresh, modern and appropriately rejuvenated for its members.

Mike Baden, Chief Executive at Impulse Leisure, says: “This investment has given Chanctonbury a bright new feel with brand new equipment and fitness technologies, plus an improved social environment in the redesigned cafe. A better layout means more space for visitors and a much more usable gym area – especially helpful at our busier times. With more than 16,000 people living within a three mile radius of the centre, it is our goal that this redevelopment will ultimately attract new members to the centre – we aim to top 1200 members – and give our revenue a subsequent boost in 2015.”

Moving on up

In order to double the size of the fitness suite to 260m2, lead architects and project managers Groma, together with Lifetime Construction, installed a mezzanine floor. The fitness suite now sits across the entire first floor, whilst on the ground floor there is a new 63m2 fully remodelled changing village, as well as a 31m2 health suite with sauna and a steam room, which is also an interchangeable salt room, supplied by Dale Sauna.

The centre also boasts a new-look Coffee Republic cafe and modernised, more open-plan reception area, creating a warm welcome for customers.

Central carried out the interior design for the refurbishment, working to a brief that the centre needed a high-end, state-of-the-art feel with luxurious, premium finishes to meet the expectations of its affluent clientele. The aim was to give the leisure centre the look and feel of an exclusive private club to increase scope for membership in the surrounding areas.

In line with this, Impulse Leisure invested more than £250,000 in new Technogym Excite+ CV and Element+ resistance equipment, plus a Kinesis functional training station for the fitness suite. Kinesis – meaning movement in Greek – is a strength training system which reproduces free flowing, natural movements with a series of cables, grips and weight stacks. Gym members can now enjoy a much larger, airier fitness experience with more than 40 stations of premium kit, as well as free weights, dumbbells and functional training accessories, in line with their requests.

Focus on health and wellbeing

A Boditrax K780 machine has also been installed to measure the weight and body composition of members. The machine recently featured on a BBC2 programme ‘What’s The Right Diet for You’, in conjunction with top academics from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and took a look at the reasons why people gain weight and then matched the diet to the individual.

Karl Hayes, Impulse Leisure’s Group Operations Manager, says: “Leisure Centres – and gyms in particular – are increasingly all about the entire customer experience, very similar to restaurants and bars. Gone are the days when bare flat walls, simply functional changing rooms and basic kit were enough to meet members’ needs; customer expectations have risen and members now expect – and deserve – much more for their money. That is why we worked closely with Central to create an environment that is clean, uncluttered and welcoming, with kit that is of the highest specification, complete with internet and Facebook access, wellness system electronic programmes and new body segmentation tracking.”

Impulse is already seeing a positive impact from the changes, both from customers and trustees. David Daley, a Trustee of the West Chanctonbury Recreation Association (WCRA), says: “I am delighted with the new facilities at Chanctonbury Sport and Leisure; well done to Impulse for making this redevelopment happen. This project is a fine testament to the impetus and investment that Impulse Leisure has provided to the WCRA. We would not have been able to achieve any of these improvements without them.”

Membership has already increased. Including pre-sales from before the reopening, 157 new members have been signed up so far and the new equipment has received positive feedback from members, including Facebook comments such as ‘Wow amazing!’ and ‘The new gym looks fantastic! Great new facilities’.

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