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Who would have guessed that 2020 would have turned out how it did? With the pandemic sweeping the globe and affecting so many, whilst keeping active was certainly more of a  challenge it was also a saving grace in most people's lives.

We were also hit by the severe floods which caused the temporary closure of some of our centres. All we could do here at Halo Leisure was continue to try to put on the best service we could to keep our members active while we were allowed to open (or not!). 

In this blog post, we will go over some of the year's highlights (and there were many despite  Covid-19!) and the ways we kept our local communities active and engaged in the year of 2020.

1. Inclusive projects

Feel Good for Life online sessions

This year we worked with Bridgend County Borough Council and the Welsh Government to provide online support and activity sessions to vulnerable people in the county of Bridgend who previously enjoyed Feel Good for Life activities in our centres in Maesteg and Bridgend. Newly secured funding went towards computers and technology as well as the training required to make this happen and create a better feeling of community, even if it meant online and not physically at our sites. The team have done an amazing job on this project and the feedback has been great from those taking part too - who are using technology (many for the very first time) to keep connected with other Halo customers and staff members.

Find out more here:

Mobile Falls Prevention Programme. 

The Mobile Falls Prevention programme has now been running for over multiple years to support those vulnerable to accidents mainly in community settings such as Sheltered Housing Complex and care homes. We once again secured more funding to benefit those that receive the care and training. 

With the aim to reduce the likelihood of debilitating falls, this has been improved by approximately 40%. This programme is so valuable to those that are part of it as well as their families and we look forward to continuing running it going forward.

See more about the project here:

Pool Pods!

With funding we managed to secure the installation of a brand new pool pod in Ross Swimming Pool to give water access to those in wheelchairs or limiting disabilities. Just another way Halo is helping to engage everyone in the community, the pods are controlled electronically and smoothly lower the user into the water, allowing them easy and stress free access.

We look forward to hopefully getting more pods in our other pools in the future. A great piece of kit with a huge impact.


2. Community Leisure UK Awards - Winner of the Community Impact through Physical Activity Award.

We are super proud of our Active Communities team in Bridgend County, they claimed the prestigious national award for ‘Impact through physical activity’ for the 'Feel Good for Life' programme which includes a variety of activities to help those with dementia and their carers to stay active. One of the main activities provided was the dementia friendly swimming sessions, it has been such a success story for all involved - the people living with dementia and their carers. 

Since 2019, the programme has grown considerably, incorporating more activities and venues, under the name 'Feel Good for Life' and also recently started to reach out to people who are feeling lonely or low. To get an award in this area means the world to us as it really pushes the core values of Halo Leisure to break down barriers to participation and create healthier communities.


3. On your bike - new funding gets us a step closer to Herefordshire’s new cycle track

An exciting cycle track is coming to Hereford! During 2020 the team for this project led by Halo Leisure, continued to develop the vision for a new facility at Hereford Leisure Centre, securing funding and support from Herefordshire Council, Sport England and British Cycling.

The aim is for the facility to support cycling and recreational development for the whole community. The project is planned to be completed by the end of 2021 so that is something to be excited about for all you keen cyclists and families  out there.


4. Halo@Home - Bringing the studio to you!

As soon as the news of the first lockdown hit in March 2020, we recorded some of your favourite instructors' classes for you to follow along with at home, staying active and feeling connected to the classes you love to attend. We know how hard it is to stay active in these times so following along to a trainer you trust can definitely give you that much needed motivation.

We then partnered with a provider to offer our members free access to 100s of other classes from world class trainers.

Check out our updated Halo@Home service here


5. Get U Back campaign - building customer confidence

After lockdowns, preparing the centres for return was no easy feat, with new ways of working for all staff, regular cleaning and safety measures in place, it was up to everyone to pull through and adapt the new way of life to make the customer experience fun, safe and easy.

Another huge step forward was the roll out of the Halo App to all centres. All activities must be pre booked and this new safety measure was made possible for all our members who now have the ability to pre book sessions directly and easily from the home screen of their mobile device. This was also necessary to track the number of people in our sessions at one time.

The Get U Back campaign served as the way for us to encourage everyone being active again after lockdown and that all our centres were a safe place to exercise and get back to feeling good without worrying about cleanliness or overcrowding. We shared videos, graphics and all important stats to give our customers more confidence in returning to activity.

It was all about keeping in contact with our members - and to achieve this, from March-December 2020, the marketing team issued close to 4000 messages to customers to keep them up to date with lockdowns and reopenings!

6. Post lockdown participation - Returning with confidence!

Even with all the lockdowns happening last year, it was amazing to see so many of our members returning when restrictions were eased and following all the guidelines to keep us all safe. Gyms are proven to be one of the safest places for exercise, and working out definitely helps us all to stay active, strong and healthy. 

Here is a super figure from the months of July-September just after the first lockdown across all our centres:

122,728 sessions attended including gym, swim, group exercise classes and all other Halo activities.

Let’s hope 2021 can bring us back to some form of normality and routine as we look to get more people more active than ever and bring communities back to the way they should be. Stay safe, stay active and see you soon.

Halo Team :)