A teenage diving star is to help make sure our sparkling new leisure centre is officially opened with a big splash. Eden Cheng, who sensationally clinched gold at the European Championships last year aged just 15, is to join Mayor of Merton, Councillor Mary Curtin for the official opening of the Morden Leisure Centre on Saturday 30 March from 2pm until 6pm.
Inspirational 16-year-old Eden won a gold medal in the 10 metre women’s synchro with partner Lois Toulson in Glasgow last year. The South Londoner previously netted a gold medal when she represented Great Britain at the Junior European Championships in Bergen.
The grand opening is to be a fantastic afternoon bursting with free family fun and sporty activities at the state-of-the-art centre in the heart of Morden Park. All Merton residents are welcome to attend the event, which will have something for everyone to enjoy: from a giant inflatable game to yoga, swimming and aerobics sessions as well as plenty of surprise treats. There will also be tours of the building, which boasts a 25m six-lane pool, another pool with a moveable floor for aqua aerobics, toddler and diving classes in addition to a 100-station fitness studio with the latest kit for gym goers to work up a sweat.
Visitors have been flocking to the new centre in the picturesque setting of Morden Park, just off London Road, since it opened its doors last November. The new facility, built by Merton Council for the community, has brought a major surge in the number of fitness sessions attended by local residents. As well as a rise in the numbers of visitors exercising in the pools or working out in the gym the number of people taking up memberships to leisure facilities swelled by 58 per cent, compared to the old centre, in the first three months alone.
The centre, designed in consultation with the community, hosts a range of clubs and a café with an outside area which will be a glorious place to sit and relax in come the summer. The centre is fully accessible throughout, with a designated ‘changing places’ room including an accessible toilet, shower and hoist. The special features include a ‘pool pod’ – a newly-designed platform to help disabled swimmers get in and out of the water.
Cabinet Member for Community and Culture, Councillor Nick Draper said: “It’s just brilliant that Eden Cheng can be with us for the grand opening of our new leisure centre. We are really looking forward to showing her around the fantastic facilities. I’m so proud of this amazing new centre that we’ve built for the families of Morden, and I want to see as many families and groups of friends as possible at the centre on Saturday to help us celebrate alongside the Mayor of Merton.”
• Morden Leisure Centre welcomed 35,959 visitors in November and December – up more than 30 per cent compared to visitor numbers at Morden Park Pools during the same period the previous year.
• Significantly there was a massive rise of more than 6,000 visits to the new centre during its opening month of November compared to those at the former pools during October.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
• The council invested in the new centre as a replacement for the ageing 1960s built Morden Park Pool which had become energy inefficient and expensive to maintain. The former pools will be demolished and the site will be landscaped to create a public open space for the community to enjoy.
• The new centre is managed by social enterprise company GLL – Better which also runs Canons Leisure Centre in Mitcham and Wimbledon Leisure Centre on behalf of the council.
• Morden Leisure Centre opens from 6am until 9pm on weekdays and from 7.30am until 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. A range of different membership deals are available.