As a former competitive swimmer myself, it was with great excitement that my daughter said to me a few months ago that she wished to start having swimming lessons at Stockport Life Leisure. In fact, even though my racing days are long over, to this day my swimming results are still available online if you know where to look.
Even though I’m from Bournemouth, the reputation of Stockport Metro is legendary. Established in the 1970s they’ve had many swimmers go on to compete internationally and there aren’t many clubs with more hallowed a reputation. Fast forward to 2023 and I got a glimpse of being able to see what happens behind the scenes at Stockport Metro and their feeder system through Stockport Life Leisure.
Please note that I am in no way affiliated with Stockport Life Leisure, nor do I receive any financial incentives from this article.
Who Is Stockport Life Leisure?
Stockport Life Leisure is a community interest company run by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. They have ten leisure centres across the whole of Stockport with Stockport Grand Central being the ‘hub’ of the organisation located near Stockport train station with smaller centres across Stockport. Grand Central also acts as the home of Stockport Metro – the Wolf Pack.
Nine of the day leisure centres have swimming pools, with Stockport Grand Central’s pool being a 50m swimming pool. For a non-swimmer, to provide some context, this is incredible. To have 9 swimming pools (let alone a 50m pool) for a population of 290,000 is incredible. I was already getting an insight into how it was, that Stockport Metro could be so successful.
The only centre without a pool is the Bramhall centre. If you live in this area, don’t worry as both the Hazel Grove, Cheadle Hulme and Avondale centre all have pools and are within a 10min drive of Bramhall Village.
The Sign Up Process
Fortunately Mila had already started swimming lessons at school, and when she visits Granny and Grandad, spends more time in the pool than out of it, so is a pretty confident swimmer. However, before you can join a class, you have to sign up for an assessment with Life Leisure Stockport – importantly Stockport Metro don’t do any junior classes.
Each time I contacted Life Leisure directly I have been really pleased with how timely they respond to emails and how helpful they have been.
Some advice that I would offer is that if you want to get your child involved in swimming lessons, perhaps consider contacting them sooner rather than later. I first reached out to them in 2021 and was told that we would need to join a waiting list. For various reasons due to family commitments, we didn’t formally start the sign up process until early 2023 that we actually did the assessment. Upon contacting them in 2023 we did the assessment within a couple of weeks.
Perhaps back in 2021 they were still playing catch up from Covid or perhaps we got luck in 2023. But it’s something to consider.
After the Assessment
We completed our assessment at the Hazel Grove centre. Hazel Grove has a ‘baby pool’ which is where they do the assessment and it was great because I was able to watch from the pool side. The assessment took about 30mins.
From this assessment the instructor will assess which level your child should join. From there, you are able to sign up to the portal to search for classes.
Returning back to my earlier comment relating to waiting times, again this is where you may wish to consider starting the process sooner than you need. Although 9 of the leisure centres have pools, only five offer swimming lessons. These are:
- Grand Central
- Cheadle Hulme
- Hazel Grove
This obviously reduces availability. However, added to that, the Hazel Grove pool is now closed until December 2023 as they embark on a huge refurbishment of the pool. Everyone who was signed up for lessons at Hazel Grove have been offered alternative classes at the same time and day at other pools. This has obviously significantly limited capacity for new starters to sign up to classes. We have been transferred to the Avondale Pool.
Online Portal for Managing Classes
Once you have found your class, you are able to create your own online portal which is where you manage your child’s registration, classes and payments. This is an extremely easy to navigate system and lets you track your child’s progress against various expected abilities for that level. This is updated during the classes so you get a real up to date account of how they’re doing.
How Much Does It Cost?
Compared to other child sports sessions, the cost is pretty similar and we feel reasonable. We pay by direct debit and for a weekly 30 minute class pay £33 per month.
The classes have run throughout the Easter, Summer half term and Summer Holiday which gives the kids something to look forward to throughout the holidays. Plus, as a member of Life Leisures’s swimming classes, your child gets free access to the swimming pool at any time. This is great as it has meant we haven’t had to pay for Mila to go swimming at all throughout the holidays which is a good bonus.
And What About the Classes?
The most important question!
We’ve been going regularly since March 2023. From our point of view, we’ve been really impressed by the team that take the classes. It’s been the same teachers each week and they all seem to have a great rapport with the kids. On top of that, Mila has really bonded well with them.
Every week she is looking forward to the sessions and tells me that on the day she swims, she puts a smily face on the ‘mood board’ at school, because she knows she’ll be going swimming.
We’ve also seen huge improvements in both her ability and confidence in the water. In fact, I messaged Noemi at a recent class and said that I couldn’t believe I was watching my daughter swim backcrawl!
So Would We Recommend Life Leisure for Swimming Classes?
We’ve been hugely impressed by the whole process from contacting the Life Leisure admin teams through to the booking and payment. We were also really impressed with how seamlessly they coordinated the transfer from Hazel Grove to Avondale in preparation for the renovation taking place at Hazel Grove.
Life Leisure Swimming Classes
A review of the swimming classes available through Life Leisure Stockport
Product Brand: Life Leisure
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 33
Product In Stock: InStock