Future of Cornwall’s Leisure Service

Posted on: 14th November 2016

Future of Cornwall’s Leisure Service was decided at Cornwall Council’s Cabinet meeting last week.

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet has today announced that GLL has been awarded the tender to provide leisure centres and other leisure facilities, currently owned and maintained by the Council, from April 2017.

GLL currently operates over 200 leisure centres and is a national not-for-profit social enterprise with over 20 years’ experience. It has an impressive track record in running leisure centres in locations all over the country  under the national brand of ‘Better’.

Announcing the decision Adam Paynter, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources said: Firstly I’d like to place on record my thanks to Tempus Leisure for their fantastic work over the years running Cornwall’s leisure facilities in such a professional manner.

We have always made it clear that we want to keep leisure centres open in Cornwall but without an ongoing subsidy from the Council. By taking the initiative, carefully considering all the options and then going through a vigorous tendering process, we are confident that in awarding this contract to GLL we will secure the future of the Council’s leisure facilities.

The excellent staff that already work in our leisure centres will transfer over to the new operator on their existing terms and conditions.”

Chris Symons, GLL’s Director of Development said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to deliver leisure facilities in Cornwall on behalf of Cornwall Council.

“As a charitable social enterprise we have no shareholders to pay, instead we plough any surplus back into improving facilities and boosting community sports participation.

“These are exciting times for GLL, staff and customers in Cornwall and we look forward to showing the difference our social enterprise operation brings.”

All the leisure facilities currently owned and maintained by the Council will be included in the contract although the Council will be continuing discussions with local community groups with a view to devolving Par Pavilion and Running Track to them in the near future.

The facilities included in the contract have been awarded to GLL on a long term 25 lease basis which means that the Council will continue to own the freehold of the sites.

Adam continues: “This is a good deal for the Council and for Cornwall.  Not only will it save almost £3.5m a year which can be used to support other services, but we have secured a commitment from the new operators that all existing club bookings will be honoured. There is also a commitment to deliver work experience, volunteering and apprenticeship placements over the life of the contract; a programme to support Cornwall’s talented athletes and to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Cornwall.  Following today’s decision to award the contract to GLL, we will be working closely with them and the current operators to ensure a smooth transition on 01 April 2017.”

GLL will also make a significant investment into the leisure centres and the equipment which will be initially financed through Council borrowing which will be repaid to the Council with interest over the life of the contract.