The award-winning Catterick Leisure Centre is celebrating its 10th anniversary and proving to be a healthy option across the generations. PETER BARRON pays a visit


IT is Peter Worrall’s 80th birthday and he’s celebrating it by pumping iron at the gym while his wife Diane is put through her paces in a “Body Blast” class nearby.

Meanwhile, downstairs, babies – just weeks old – are enjoying their first experience in the water as their mums gently bounce up and down with them in the teaching pool.

From one end of the age spectrum to another, the award-winning Catterick Leisure Centre is proving to be a healthy option at the heart of its community.

“It has become a big part of our lives,” says Peter, a retired science teacher, who comes to the centre five days a week. “It gets us out of bed in the morning and we enjoy not just the health benefits but meeting people. The staff are wonderful, the facilities are first-class, and it’s excellent value for money.”

Peter and Diane spotted the Catterick Leisure Centre building during a shopping trip to nearby Tesco after they moved from Lincolnshire to Leyburn. “We were intrigued, so we asked to be shown around and joined on the spot,” he recalls.

For General Manager, Les Mooney, such positive feedback justifies the £22m investment that was made a decade ago to give the people of Catterick Garrison – and those living in the Yorkshire Dales – a community sports centre catering for their health and fitness needs.

“Building the centre was massive for the community and it has paid dividends,” says Les, a former athlete who has built an impress track record in the leisure industry. “Our aim is to offer something for everyone, from every walk of life, and for all ages.”

With Catterick Garrison being one of Europe’s biggest military bases, the Ministry of Defence covered the bulk of the building costs, with support from North Yorkshire County Council. The Army regularly uses the centre for pool training, but it is also viewed as a huge asset across the wider community.

Eight years ago, the Gough Road centre became part of Nuffield Health, which also has a network of hospitals, and takes a holistic approach to health and fitness. Profits from the group’s leisure centres are invested back into improving facilities as well as medical research.

The centre features three pools, a newly upgraded gym, six badminton courts, as well as facilities for basketball, volleyball, five-a-side football, table tennis and indoor cricket.

Personal trainers and physiotherapists are part of an expert team, and more than 40 classes are available. The centre also delivers Les Mills Studio Classes, whose philosophy is to create classes “For a fitter planet”.

“This doesn’t mean making people work out. It means helping people fall in love with fitness so that they want to work out,” the company adds.

The swim school at Nuffield Health in Catterick is run by dedicated Swim England-qualified instructors, offering classes for everyone from absolute beginners.

Health MOTs can also be arranged, with a wellbeing adviser spending an hour assessing your lifestyle: testing blood, glucose, cholesterol, Body Mass Index, and resting heart rate before putting an action plan in place. Those taking part are reassessed after six months.

“We work hard to have a completely joined-up approach by finding out as much as possible about what people need and then coming up with solutions that work for them,” says Deputy General Manager Jody Evans.

Having started as a lifeguard on a Youth Training Scheme himself, Jody takes understandable pride in the fact that the building has its own training centre and runs courses throughout the year as an approved Training Centre for the Institute of swimming and Royal Life Saving Society.

Thanks to a grant from the Army Covenant Fund, young people are being given the skills to become community sports leaders, fitness instructors and lifeguards.

Another source of pride for Les, Jody and the rest of the 60 employees is that the most recent customer survey showed the highest ever Net Promoter Score. Catterick has also won Nuffield Health’s “Centre of the Year” award twice.

Kelly Dobson, who travels from Darlington twice a week with her children – three-year-old Darcie and Carter, aged one and a half – is one of those satisfied customers. While she keeps in shape alongside other mums in what’s called “Buggy Boot Camp”, the children can play happily in the safe environment of the sports hall.

“It’s nice to be able to get some high-quality exercise knowing that you can also bring the children,” says Kelly. “The staff are fantastic, you make friends with other mums, and it’s excellent value for money.”

It is a further sign of the trust placed in the centre by local families that a “Holiday Stars” scheme runs during the summer school holidays, with parents able to drop off their children for fun-packed, healthy day camps between 8.15am and 5.30pm.

From babies to 80-year-olds like Peter Worrall, who just love to keep fit even on their birthday, Catterick Leisure Centre is a community in itself – and that has to be a healthy state of affairs.



Catterick Leisure Centre can also host a variety of events and conferences in its sports hall or two meeting rooms, featuring lighting control, air conditioning and free WiFi.

A dedicated conference host can be provided for the day if required, along with flexible buffet and drinks packages.

All rooms can accommodate various meeting layouts and can be hired for a full day, half day or hourly rate at extremely competitive prices.




  • Address: Gough Road, Catterick, North Yorkshire, DL9 3EL.
  • Opening times: Monday-Friday: 06:30-22:00 & Saturday-Sunday 07:30-18:30.
  • Reception: 01748 831 030
  • Website:
  • Swimming lessons: Monday-Thursday 16:00-18:00 & Saturday Mornings 8:30-13:00. Sold in blocks of 10 weeks. Maximum of eight children per lesson. From £5.40 per lesson.
  • Classes: Les Mills BodyPump, BodyAttack, GRIT Series, BodyBalance & BodyCombat.

Other Classes include, Studio Cycling, Yoga, Pilates, Aqua Fit, Yoga, Buggy Bootcamp & Step

  • Physiotherapy: Jaj Mankelow is a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. £22 per session, appointments every Wednesday 6pm-9pm. Call 01642 367408 to book.