Willesden Sports Centre is part owned by Harpers Fitness and part owned by Brent Council. It has been around for a long time, but got a complete renovation a few years back.
I have been a member for around a year and a half and enjoy coming here! The centre has a decent sized gym, with all the usual cardio and weight equipment, a big indoor swimming pool and a smaller kids pool, both indoor and outdoor running tracks, a martial arts studio, sauna and steam rooms and a cafe. They also offer a variety of group classes (such as yoga, pilates, revolutions, step, body combat etc etc) and have a number of on-site personal trainers.
The staff are really friendly, and there is a real sense of community amongst the members and staff. I invariably end up having a few good chats along with my workout whenever I go!
As the centre is part-owned by council there are often a lot of school kids about, practising on the tracks for the athletics team or running club on certain days after school, however they aren't allowed in the gym, and even if they are training on the tracks from, say 6-7pm, they normally leave a lane free for others to run in. The swimming pool can get busy, but again, there are always lanes dedicated to serious swimmers.
There is also a room where you can play badminton, basketball etc and there are often clubs for kids held here.
So if you live in the area and don't have a membership yet, then now's the time to get fit! On your marks, get set.....GO!
This place is convenient for me and my family. It has some very good facilities and classes which we take advantage of. At the same time there are some small details which let it down. One example... the lockers have keys attached to a piece of plastic. You lock it, go away and realise you cant actually read the locker number on the plastic as it has worn out due to swimming and other activities. Did the gym/locker people not think of this inconvenience?? For a gym to get little things like this wrong and it has been like this since it opened is disappointing and especially when you cant find your belongings!!!
I use the centre for swimming for lessons for my kids as well as swimming generally with them. For lessons we use Harpers and I cant say I'm impressed with them. For half an hour we have a disinterested swimming instructor who hardly looks at the kids. I'm sure not all the instructors are like this but I don't rate this one. You leave messages with the Harpers team to change/query classes and they dont return your calls... I bet they do for new customers. When swimming generally (ie not lessons) there isn't much space as most if it is taken by swimming schools. Sometimes the space given to non-school swimmers and especially at weekends is just simply ridiculous. This should be reviewed but I doubt it is given any consideration.
Some of the classes are good. My other half has been to a few classes (Body Conditioning/Body Pump) which she enjoys. My kids do gymnastics and they love it.
I dont expect this gym to be at the level of a Cannons or LA Fitness but I do expect them to get some of the basics right. Could be so much better!
After undergoing refurbishment the gym, and pool and associated rooms got an overhaul. Also the track and field area and seating also looks so much better,giving the kids much better facilities. We still use the swimming pool area, at less busier times
The swimming pool at Willesden has been considerably downsized in the refurbishment and it is now very difficult to find a time when there is enough space for a intermediate-to-advanced swimmer to find space. This is really disappointing as I used to swim regularly and now find it rather difficult. Even when there are meant to be free lanes, activities such as water aerobics often chase children into the swimming lanes leaving no space for anyone else.
I am also disappointed in the £30 p/m cost of the gym seeing as there is a subscription gym down the road. I understand this isn't bad for a gym but it gives younger people or the unemployed less chance of being able to use a gym as the last one at Willesden was considerably cheaper.
There are a number of things that fails this swimming pool: 1/
Staff: not friendly. They have no incentive to make this a nice place
for the public. They are rude. Some of the Harper staff are rude as
well. I saw a Harper instructor
drag out a 7-8 year old boy out of the ladies changing room (he was
waiting quietly on a bench for his mum). The boy was crying for his mum.
All the Harper instructor said was: I don't care about your mum you
should not be in the ladies changing room
Obviously the mum then argued with the instructor , which doesn't help
to bring a nice atmosphere to the place. With
the staff not being helpful and respectful of this place, this means
that the general public do not respect the place either. Only the staff can turn this around. This leads me to the
next point: cleanliness
(or the lack thereof). 2/
Not Clean/ ladies changing room filthy: in the ladies changing room people walk in and out of wet areas with their shoes from outside without
using the plastic shoes provided
at the entrance. The floor is dirty and people trash tissues, pens,
used soapwithout bothering to use the bins. As the place is
not cleaned frequently enough there are remains of hair lying around.
Basically, not a nice place to try to change into a swimsuit. Staff are not encouraged to ensure people remove their
shoes before entering wet areas. 3/
Swimming: if you are going for a swim (as opposed to playing and
shouting in the water) FORGET IT. There are not enough lanes for
swimming. When it is supposed to be
available for the general public, generally only one or two are available. Other
lanes are either taken up by Harper/ or other classes. When you do
manage to swim, a lot of the time, people don't respect the clockwise or
anti-clockwise signs, which means you end up bumping
into people frequently. Since the staff can't be bothered to tell
people who are not respecting the signs it's down to you to do their job
or bump into people Without
expecting this place to be like a private gym, if you think you are
going there to have some quiet time swimming and enjoying yourself, this
is not the place. I am
a great believer in public swimming pools as opposed to private ones,
but this one fails the test on all counts! I'd rather go a bit further away and be in a nice place without the constant shouting. This place could have been a nice place for people from all backgrounds of the community to gather but instead it is a nightmare!
I am suprised by how small the swimming pool at Willesden is and most of the time there's barely enough space to swim as it's so packed. Every other area of the centre has improved considerably, so it just saddens me that the pool is so small as this is the facility most people use. The changing room facilities are considerably better though.
The exercise room here is fine, nothing fancy but provides what you need for a basic workout. Most of the connections that allow you to listen to the TVs through the machines are broken. I have to say, however, that the staff here has been unbelievably difficult to deal with. It was very easy to join and begin my membership, but it has taken 5 MONTHS for them to process my cancellation (and I'm only on the month to month plan!). It has been incredibly frustrating and I continue to be stunned by the complete lack of service. I have sent literally twenty emails to date and called at various times every day for 4 weeks trying to speak to someone to get my matter attended to and not ONCE has anyone picked up the phone EVER. It is shocking. I can't believe that five months on I am still being charged and still have not been able to resolve this. When I have gone in person the manager is not there and I am given the main phone number to call no direct line and since no one has ever actually answered the main line, I am not able to speak with anyone. I have spoken with staff in person on six occasions to ask them to pass on this information to the manager. And still my bank account was debited this morning for yet another month's fee.
So all this considered, based on the highly unprofessional and astoundingly unresponsive staff, I must strongly warn people to reconsider joining.
The swimming pool is not up to standard. I frequently find the lanes are packed, and that being in a lane of higher ability makes no difference often sharing with breast-stroke and back-stroke people. Today there were only two lanes free due to water aerobics, however people from the water aerobics were allowed to take over the slow lane, forcing everyone to go around them. People frequently swim down the middle of lanes and the pool is generally not very clean. The staff around the pool are rude and unhelpful.
We offer a range of facilities and services to our local community:
Fitness Facility (Gym)
Group Training (Aerobics)
Sauna / Steam Rooms
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