The latest technology to help people stay active and to keep them safe in the water has been officially unveiled in Borehamwood after a double funding boost aimed at improving local infrastructure and services.
An eGYM, a state-of-the-art eight-piece circuit which is intended to improve strength and mobility, and an underwater video surveillance system which detects when swimmers are in unsafe situations, have been installed at The Venue Leisure Centre, following a £173,000 grant from Hertsmere Borough Council’s Community Infrastructure Fund. The eGYM, which uses results data to provide training solutions for specific users, is particularly aimed at ‘at risk’ groups in the local community, such as the elderly or those with a long-term condition. While the Poolview Plus anti-drowning system, which is scheduled to be fully functional in the new year, warns pool staff when a swimmer does not move or is in the drowning zone for a critical time period.
Councillor Dr Harvey Cohen presented a plaque recognising that the two projects had been completed in partnership with the council earlier this month. The CIF is a pool of funding the council has collected from a levy on certain types of new development that can be used for improving local facilities and services.
Cllr Cohen said: “By investing in facilities such as this, we are investing in the future resilience of our local communities.
“If we can get more people active, especially the elderly and those who would otherwise struggle to exercise, it can help take pressure off existing services such as GP surgeries, hospitals and other healthcare providers.
“The eGYM is a really exciting way of keeping fit. It’s easy to use, convenient and perfect for people who would otherwise struggle to go for a run or find time to play team sport.
“While the new Poolview Plus anti-drowning system is an extra measure, in addition to The Venue’s lifeguarding staff, to help keep pool users safe.”
Kevin Fleet, centre manager, said: “We are very grateful to receive the Community Infrastructure Fund from Hertsmere Borough Council.
“The eGym studio is interactive fitness equipment with advance software which will record your data and provide you with unique analysis, based on a range of factors, including age, strength and weight. Just a 30 minute workout twice a week, will guarantee you results.
“The studio opened on 1 October and is hugely popular. To date we have completed more than 330 eGym inductions and the customer feedback has been fantastic.
“The Poolview Plus system is a huge technology advance, and we are very lucky to be operating this system. The primary function is to aid the lifeguard in the detection of swimmers in potential difficulty and raise an alarm.”
It was announced at the beginning of the year that 16 organisations had been successful in bidding for funding. Two groups received larger amounts of money, totalling more than £600,000, including Elstree University and Technical College and Communities 1st (formerly Community Hertsmere).
Funding for a further 14 groups, including schools and sports clubs, was agreed by the council’s Executive committee in December last year, with the money set to help improve community buildings, outdoor spaces and sports facilities.
Other recipients include the Noah’s Ark Hospice, which was given £29,467 to facilitate the construction of its children hospice in High Barnet. The hospice, which supports children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in the borough, opened earlier this year.
All the applicants had to fulfil specific funding criteria set by the council.