November 2023 • Vision RCL

The local fitness scene at Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre is about to experience a major transformation as both Group Exercise spaces (Studio 1 and Sam Ryan Room) will receive a complete makeover ready for the New Year.

The refurbishment will include re-decorating with our stylish group exercise colours, new specialist flooring and disco lights (Sam Ryan Room). These changes will offer the following benefits to our customers; comfortable and safe workout environment, that is visually appealing with better sound quality for high impact classes such as spinning.

As the demand for group fitness classes continues to rise, Vision RCL is determined to provide members with a high-quality group exercise experience. Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre, one of our most popular group exercise studios with over 100 classes scheduled per week. The decision to replace the flooring is part of a broader commitment to maintaining high standards and keeping up with the latest fitness trends.

We have planned this work with our contractors as close as possible to the Christmas closures to avoid minimal disruption to our users.This renovation project is scheduled to begin on Thursday 7 December and is expected to be completed by Tuesday 2 January 2024. During this period, the studio will temporarily close its group exercise area to ensure the safety of its members and the smooth execution of the renovation.

Reduced Group Exercise Class Timetable at Fullwell Cross Leisure

Week 1: Thursday 7 to 20 December 2023 – Partial Closure Studio 1 and Sam Ryan Room

Week 2:  Wednesday 20 December 2023 to 2 January 2024 – Full Closure

We have organised alternative venues for our classes at:

  • Redbridge Cycling Centre until 22 December 2023
  • Fullwell Cross Library and Redbridge Central Library – until 20 December
  • Mayfield Leisure Centre – open with reduced opening hours 8am to 4pm
  • South Woodford Gym and Library – open with reduced opening hours 8am to 4pm

For more information please see our Christmas Opening Hours.

Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre Christmas Closures

The centre will be closed from Wednesday 20 December to Tuesday 2 January 2024.

Park users have voted for Hainault Forest as one of the most impressive green spaces in the country as part of the 2023 People’s Choice Awards.

Over 21,000 people took part, voting for their favourite Green Flag park or green space as part of the annual People’s Choice Awards, and for the first time, Hainault Forest took one of the ten top spots. 

Hainault Forest is one of nine parks in Redbridge with a prestigious Green Flag Award, which recognises well-maintained, accessible, biodiverse parks loved by their local communities. The awards are presided over by a panel of experts and set the standard for managing recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and worldwide.

Hainault Forest has recently undergone a £7million redevelopment, including a complete renovation of the Victorian barns and the creation of a new visitor hub with event space, a café, artist workshops and a Woodland Trust visitor centre. A new woodland-inspired children’s playground has been created, with Redbridge’s biggest slide and Foxburrows Farm renovated to make space for new furry friends, including sheep, pigs and goats. 

The project was delivered in partnership with Vision RCL and the Woodland Trust, with funding from Redbridge Council, National Heritage Lottery Fund, GLA Good Growth Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Deputy Leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Kam Rai, said: “We know how important our parks and green spaces are for local people, and what a difference access to free activities for children can make for families, especially during these tough economic times. Working with partners, we’ve transformed Hainault Forest, delivering the perfect family day right on our doorstep, and it’s wonderful to see our country park recognised in this way.”

“I’m so proud of all our work, renovating the old Victorian barns and creating attractions for local families to enjoy. I would highly recommend visiting the park to anyone who enjoys beautiful landscapes, nature paths, and fun, free activities for children.” 

Chair of Vision Trustees, Martin Solder, said: “We’re honoured to have received this award; over the last few years, Hainault Forest has seen significant investments in facilities thanks to our funders and has now been recognised as one of the best top ten parks in the UK for the first time. Hainault Forest is an asset to our community, and we’re committed to ensuring it remains a vibrant and accessible space for all. Winning this award is a testament to the tireless efforts of the staff and volunteers. Vision RCL are determined to continue our work to enhance the park’s offerings.”

Green Flag Award Manager Paul Todd, said: “Our parks and green spaces are essential to people’s wellbeing and we know these free to access places will continue to be vital to communities. To have achieved this recognition from the public is testament to the tireless work by our parks staff and volunteers to make Hainault Forest a wonderful place everyone can enjoy.

“Our Green Flag Award winners include some of the country’s best-known and iconic parks, community green spaces, university campuses, and canals. We want to congratulate Hainault Forest on their fantastic achievement.”

George Lewis, Woodland Trust Hainault Forest Visitor Experience Manager, said: “Our partnership with Vision Redbridge at Hainault Forest has been such a proud moment for the Woodland Trust and to have received this award for all the investment that has been put into the forest makes it all worth it. We have seen 25,000 visitors through the visitor centre and to know that we have had an impact on providing an excellent woodland experience is a testament to the work of our team, our volunteers and partners.”

For more information please visit the Hainault Forest website.

This year marked the 28th anniversary of our annual amateur gardening competition Redbridge in Bloom, a celebration of community, creativity, and sustainability.

To coincide with the recent crowning of His Royal Highness King Charles III, the theme for this years competition was “A Garden Fit for a King”. An advocate for environmental causes, the monarch serves as a fitting emblem for this year’s theme and the introduction of a new category – Best Sustainable Planet-Friendly Garden Display.

While Redbridge in Bloom has always been a much-anticipated competition, this year is particularly unique. For the first time, the competition saw entries that expanded beyond traditional horticulture to involve community-wide sustainability projects, setting a precedent for future events. The array of entries was nothing short of astonishing, from schools turning their gardens into outdoor ecological classrooms to a pub demonstrating sustainable horticulture and outdoor living spaces.

One of this year’s best front garden winners demonstrating companion planting at its finest

While the event heavily focused on sustainability, it also catered to various gardening interests through various categories. From Best Front Garden to Best Container Garden, each category presented its unique challenges and opportunities. But whether participants were old hands at gardening or were picking up a spade for the first time, there was a unifying thread – each garden was a reflection of personal commitment and communal responsibility.

Celebrating the Winners and Community Achievements

Best Public House Garden

This year’s winner – Best Public House

One establishment stood head and shoulders above the rest in public house gardens—The Prince of Wales. Although it was the sole entrant in this category, the garden showcased there was anything but ordinary. It was a vivid example of how sustainability and aesthetic appeal can coexist beautifully. From the triumphant hanging basket displays to their robust composting system, every element was thoughtfully designed and impeccably maintained.

Best Community Display

Well done Worshipful Co of Weavers

Making their debut in a blaze of glory, the Worshipful Weavers took home the trophy for Best Community Display. Their garden was more than just a feast for the eyes; it was a testament to the extraordinary results achieved when a community collaborates. Rooted in the principles of sustainability and community involvement, their project elegantly combined eye-catching aesthetics with ecological responsibility, perfectly encapsulating the ethos of this year’s Redbridge in Bloom.

Best School Garden Project

Each school in the Best School Gardening Project category uniquely contributed to this year’s Redbridge in Bloom. John Bramston Primary School, led by Melanie Dye, crafted an inspiring project that captured attention. Mayespark Primary School, led by William Ballard, showcased a commitment to inclusivity. Snaresbrook Primary School, led by Lyndsey Clifton, focused on educational elements. Nightingale Primary School, directed by Nadia Binkuweir, received special recognition for their innovative sensory garden. All schools significantly contributed to the event’s community spirit and educational goals.

Best Front and Container Gardens

An immense presentation shared by one of this year’s best container display winners

In the more traditional categories, the competition was innovative. The Best Front Garden entries ranged from modern, minimalist designs to lush, vibrant oases, proving that limited space need not limit creativity. Best Container Garden participants equally demonstrated that ingenuity knows no bounds. From repurposed antique containers to intricately designed vertical gardens, each entry was a testament to human ingenuity and a celebration of horticultural diversity.

Redbridge in Bloom will return again next year, check our webpage for more information during spring 2024.

During the Christmas and New Year period our leisure centres, libraries and other facilities will have different opening hours. Please see the opening hours listed below, or for more information please visit our individual centre pages.
Find out more about your local sport and leisure centre
Find out more about your local library
Find out more about theatre

For more information on our Christmas Holiday activities view the Children’s Fun in Redbridge.

Parks & Open Spaces

All of our parks and open spaces remain open as usual. Except for Christmas Day when all parks and open spaces will be closed.

Theatre & Heritage


Sport & Leisure

Vision RCL now provides an inclusive online experience to enable website visitors to access online content and services barrier-free, in a way that best suits their needs.  

As part of our diversity and inclusion strategy, website visitors are now able to access a wide range of accessibility and language support tools to customise their digital experience through Recite Me assistive technology.  

Being able to offer an inclusive experience is essential to support over 20% of the population who may encounter barriers when exploring our website due to having a disability, learning difficulty, visually impartment or if they speak English as a second language.  

The Recite Me assistive toolbar on the Vision RCL website includes screen reading functionality, multiple reading aids, customisable styling options an on-demand live translation feature that boasts over 100 languages including 65 texts to speech and styling options.   

Chair of Vision Trustees, Martin Solder, said:

Here at Vision RCL accessibility is extremely important to us. We are committed to ensuring all customers can access information and services in a way that best meets their individual needs.” 

” Diversity and Inclusion are at the forefront of our digital strategy in 2024 to 2027, so we are incredibly proud to be able to provide Recite Me’s innovative assistive technology across our website.” 

The internet can be an incredibly intimidating place for those with access barriers, and those lacking the tools they need to adequately understand or communicate are at a significant disadvantage.   

Recite Me’s Founder and CEO, Ross Linnett said:

“We are proud to partner with Vision to break down digital barriers and drive inclusive online experiences. Recite Me believes in accessibility for all, allowing everyone the opportunity to use the internet in the way that it is intended, and it is fantastic to have Vision join our mission.”

To access the assistive toolbar on our website, click this symbol at the bottom left-hand side of our website or for more information watch the short video clip below.

Storm Ciaran

The Met Office has issued two weather warnings for parts of the UK as the latest storm approaches the UK.

Storm Ciaran is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain to Redbridge from Wednesday night to Thursday afternoon.

We kindly advise our visitors to stay aware and be careful when visiting Redbridge Parks and Open Spaces. Please note we may have to close some parks at short notice. Please check this news article and our social media accounts for more updates.

For more information please visit the Met Office website.