MORE than 500,000 people have visited a new sports centre in the 12 months since it was built on the site of a former steelworks.
The £32 million Ravens-craig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell celebrated its first birthday with the news that visitor numbers have exceeded all expectations.
Ravenscraig has played host to a string of top sporting events, as well as becoming a hub for many of the area's sports clubs.
It is also been used for non-sporting events, including as a counting centre for the Scottish Parliament elections.
John Swanson, North Lanarkshire Council's facilities manager, said: "There's a real buzz about the place, particularly in the evenings when there's so much going on.
"In just 12 months we've held televised snooker and boxing events, international football games and national badminton tournaments.
"It hosted the International Children's Games, which welcomed hundreds of people from across the world."
Sports clubs using Ravens-craig have flourished, with the Dynamic Gymnastics Academy growing from 45 members to more than 500 since the building opened.
Each week more than 1000 youngsters play football.
It's also been used by rugby teams including the Glasgow Warriors and Scotland under-19 team.
This month saw the introduction of tea dances, which are proving popular with senior citizens.
Tennis is flourishing at the centre, too, with coaching available for youngsters.
Blane Dodds, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Leisure, which operates Ravenscraig on behalf of the council, said: "Across all our venues we're reporting an increase in sports participation as more people are getting active more often.
"Sport has a bright future in North Lanarkshire."
Ravenscraig boasts a full-size indoor and a full-size outdoor 3G football pitch and six floodlit outdoor five-a-side pitches. There's a six-lane, 135m running track, throw and jump areas and a strength and conditioning area for athletes.
There's also a multi-sports hall with nine badminton courts, a large fitness gym, dance studios and a sports injuries clinic.
Funding for the centre came from North Lanarkshire Council, Ravenscraig Ltd and an additional £7.3million backing by the Scottish Government.
Ravenscraig Ltd is the firm behind a project to build a new town for 10,000 people on the site of Motherwell's famous former steelworks which closed in 1992.
The second phase of building, worth £500m, is under way.