Islington third most active place in the UK

The Sobell Centre - home of the Saturday Night Project

The Sobell Centre - home of the Saturday Night Project - Credit: Archant

»Despite being plagued by chronic alcohol and mental health problems, Islington residents are some of the most active people in the country.

A report released on Friday shows that only 20 per cent of people in the borough are classed as inactive – doing less than 30 minutes exercise every 28 days – the third lowest in the UK and second best in London.


Bottom of the heap in the document – penned by UK Active, a not-for-profit body aimed at improving the ­nation’s health – was Stoke -on-Trent, where more than 35 per cent of people are classed as inactive.

The paper reads: “In conjunction with local leisure providers, businesses and authority departments, the London Borough of Islington has succeeded in improving the level of general physical activity levels enormously.”

Singled out for special praise is The Saturday Night Project, run at the Sobell Leisure Centre, in Hornsey Road, Holloway, which has encouraged more than 2,000 youngsters into activity.

Aquaterra, the charity which runs the Sobell, has just been stripped of Islington Council’s multi-million pound leisure contract in controversial circumstances.

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Antony Kildare, chief ­executive of Aquaterra, said: “We’re thrilled that our ­innovative Saturday Night Project has been recognised.

“Throughout our long ­association with the Islington community, Aquaterra has put the needs of the community first.

“This vital project is one of the few in the borough to provide a fun, safe and inspiring environment for Islington’s young people to socialise and get active.”

David Stalker, head of UK Active, said: “Programmes like the Saturday Night Project are a great example of how important the social side of exercise can be, especially for young people.

“We need to make sure that being active is fun, friendly and accessible in ­order to turn the tide of inactivity.”

The council has promised that the project will continue when GLL takes over the leisure contract in April.

Cllr Janet Burgess, executive member for health, said: “Helping ­Islington residents live long and healthy lives is a top priority. Islington has fantastic leisure facilities, whether people want to swim, play football, netball, tennis, work out or take exercise classes.

“Together with our leisure providers we work hard to make sure they are available to everyone in Islington, whether old or young, rich or poor.

‘‘We are committed to investing in Islington’s leisure facilities and making sure they keep going from strength to strength.”