Community Leisure UK responds to the £100 million support for local authority leisure centres

Published on: October 22nd 2020

Community Leisure UK welcomes today’s government announcement that £100 million will be committed to support local authority leisure centres, many of which are operated by outsourced providers including charitable leisure trusts.

Local authorities will be able to bid for money from the fund and the government state that allocation will be prioritised to leisure services most in need. Further details on the scheme will be set out soon by the government.

Responding to the announcement, Chief Executive of Community Leisure UK Mark Tweedie said:

“Leisure services continue to experience exceptional financial pressures as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. So after months of campaigning with our sector partners, we are delighted with this announcement.

Leisure service providers have worked exceptionally hard to open facilities safely and as efficiently as possible, and although this funding will help, it will not guarantee the long term sustainability of leisure services as we know them, so more work and support is needed to secure appropriate levels of provision over the longer term.

The public leisure sector has proved it can provide COVID safe environments for people of all ages and abilities to exercise and this commitment acknowledges that leisure services are valued, and rightly so. The contribution public leisure services make to supporting health and wellbeing cannot be underestimated, especially during this crisis to maintain both physical and mental health and wellbeing, and to help people build resilience to the virus.

Although the public leisure sector is facing an ongoing common financial issue, severity varies dependent on local circumstances. So we eagerly await more details and hope that the distribution of funding can be expedited to the most in need, including public leisure facilities operated by charities that do not have a contractual relationship with local authorities.”