Freedom leisure appointed as new partner to enhance leisure facilities in Fenland

August 20 2018

Substantial investment to boost Fenland’s leisure facilities and help people to live healthier, more active lifestyles is planned following the appointment of a new leisure partner.

Following a competitive tender process, Fenland District Council has awarded a leisure management contract to us to take over the running of the district’s four leisure centres.

We will begin a 15-year partnership with the council in December 2018 in a move that will also save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.

The contract covers the management and operation of the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March, the Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech, the Manor Leisure Centre in Whittlesey and Chatteris Leisure Centre, with the council maintaining full ownership of the sites.

The appointment follows an extensive review of leisure services to determine the best and most efficient way to manage the centres in the future, ensuring they continue to provide first class facilities and opportunities which are accessible to all.

We are one of the largest leisure operators in the UK, managing over 90 leisure and cultural facilities for local authorities across the country. As a not-for-profit organisation, we reinvest surpluses into its facilities to increase active participation. The new partnership with Fenland will allow for further investment in the leisure centres and continued improvements in the quality of leisure services provided for the local community.

This is an excellent outcome for the council and its taxpayers, particularly given that other local authorities across the country have had to close leisure facilities due to financial pressures. Not only is the council able to make significant revenue savings from this contract over the 15 year period but has negotiated further investment in the facilities.

Cllr Anne Hay, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance

Following negotiations during the procurement process, the contract fee over a 15-year period gives a significant saving of £351,000 per year against the council’s current budget for the management of the centres.

Cllr Mark Buckton, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Young People, said: “We are pleased to announce the award of this contract as it will allow us to continue to deliver high-quality, affordable leisure facilities for our residents, while enabling significant improvements to the service. We will also work with Freedom Leisure to proactively improve the health and wellbeing of the whole community through increased opportunities to participate in sport and physical activity.”

Ivan Horsfall-Turner, Managing Director for Freedom Leisure, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been selected as Fenland District Council’s leisure partner. With so many councils seeing ever reducing budgets, Freedom Leisure is here to operate leisure facilities on behalf of its partners so that these wonderful local centres remain vibrant.

“We’re really looking forward to working with the existing workforce and supporting them to build upon the current high quality services. We hope that our operational expertise coupled with this local approach mean that the services will go from strength-to-strength in support of the objectives we share with the council – a healthy, happy Fenland”

Cllr Anne Hay, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, added: “This is an excellent outcome for the council and its taxpayers, particularly given that other local authorities across the country have had to close leisure facilities due to financial pressures. Not only is the council able to make significant revenue savings from this contract over the 15 year period but has negotiated further investment in the facilities.”

Under the new contract all leisure centres will retain their existing names. There will also be a raft of new improvements and benefits – keep an eye out for more details soon!