Colne Valley Leisure Centre in Slaithwaite was saved from highly controversial plans to close it last year but people still need to keep rallying round to ensure it remains open.

Great community work by a group called Friends of Colne Valley Leisure Centre means there is now a three-way partnership between them, Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) which runs the centre and Kirklees Council which owns the site.

The future is looking far more positive with membership increasing by around 300 but the best way to ensure the centre won’t face the threat of closure in the future is for more people to become members and use it.

News that the centre faced closure shocked people into action and Friends of Colne Valley Leisure Centre was set up by nine voluntary trustees.

They now have three sub groups of volunteers. One promotes the centre and all the great things people can do there including swimming, the fitness gym, cycling studio, health and wellbeing circuits and classes such as pilates through to high energy body workouts. There are also female only fitness classes and swimming sessions.

The second group looks at fundraising and they have already had some success with a spring raffle bringing in just over £1,000. Working with Colne Valley councillor Bev Addy they secured a £4,000 ward grant fund which was matched by Kirklees Active Leisure and the £8,000 paid for energy saving fans for the sports hall to improve the heating while reducing running costs.

The third group looks at ways the leisure centre can save on its high energy bills.



A full site survey is ongoing to see just what repairs need doing. The next main aim is to replace the centre’s ageing boilers and the last quote for the work was for £250,000. Once the General Election is over, KAL and Kirklees Council will put a funding request to central government.

Friends of Colne Valley Leisure Centre has been set up as a Community Interest Company which helps it to access funding.

Vice chairman Carl Mason, of Meltham, said: “When Kirklees Active Leisure announced it was planning to close several sports centres it sparked the biggest consultation response the council has ever seen.

“People were very shocked, especially here in the Colne Valley, and the response has been tremendous with the Friends group now set up and running.

“We meet monthly with Kirklees Active Leisure and Kirklees Council and it’s clear we are all now looking positively to the future whereas just months ago it looked like the centre was going to close.”

The Friends have registered the leisure centre as an Asset of Community Value which means that if KAL ever mooted the idea of closing it again then they couldn’t for at least six months and the community would also be given the chance to take it on.

The centre had around 2,200 members pre-Covid but that dropped down to 1,500. Since the closure threat was announced, the number has increased month on month to 1,820 and the Friends would like to see the membership back above 2,000.



The number of people learning to swim at Colne Valley Leisure Centre every week has virtually doubled in the last few months from 350 to 620.

Carl said: “It’s all about the old saying to use it or lose it. If we get membership up to a good level it will take away any excuse to look at closing the centre in the future, especially after all the repair work has been done.

“When we were looking at ways to save the centre one point raised was that the monthly price was so low for members who had signed up in the past on a ‘fair price forever’ scheme which means that as long as they remain members the price will never go up.

“Some of these people want to pay more so we now have a scheme where anyone can pay a monthly direct debit to the Friends on top of their membership and every penny raised this way goes back to supporting Colne Valley Leisure Centre. People who are not members are also more than welcome to support us this way.”

The centre is also a base for community groups and has space which people can book for parties. It runs a Teen Gym between 4pm and 5pm every weekday which is always very busy and a Huddersfield Get Active Owls group for over 50s is based at the centre.

The Friends always need more volunteers too.

To volunteer, to find out more about the direct debit scheme or to contact the Friends, email them at

The group also has its own Facebook page at



The next fundraiser is a car boot sale in the Colne Valley Leisure Centre car park on Sunday, July 14 from 1pm to 4pm. There are 30 pitches outdoors and table top pitches inside with each costing just £10. To book a pitch email the Friends.

They have also booked Marsden Mechanics for a fundraising New Year’s Eve party with more details announced about this in the coming months.

The group has had its own logo designed free of charge by Huddersfield graphic designer Chris Bee from Buz66

To find out more about the centre and the classes timetable go to

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting. 

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