Freedom Leisure has been awarded a 10-year contract by Stafford Borough Council to operate its cultural, heritage and leisure facilities. The portfolio of facilities and services that will be managed by us includes: the Gatehouse Theatre, the Ancient High House, Izaak Walton’s Cottage, Stafford Castle, three leisure centres and Rowley Park Stadium.
We will also become responsible for community Sports Development programmes, along with major events within Stafford including; Shakespeare at the Castle, Stafford Half Marathon, Stafford 10k and the Pancake Race.
Previously approved council plans will see a new leisure centre built in Stone in 2018 replacing the separate pool and fitness facilities currently in the town, with us then overseeing the closures and opening.
We have committed to a £6.4m investment across the existing sites during the duration of the contract – to include site developments, equipment upgrades and environmental upgrade projects. We will also contribute around £140,000 towards the fit-out at the new Stone Leisure Centre.
Ivan Horsfall-Turner, Freedom Leisure's Managing Director, said: “Stafford Borough is very unique when it comes to its portfolio of leisure and heritage facilities; therefore it is our aspiration to deliver a locally-focused service. We are very much looking forward to working with the existing workforce and supporting them to build upon the current high quality services and facilities – we hope that our operational expertise, coupled with this local approach will mean that the services will go from strength-to-strength.
“Freedom Leisure is a not-for-profit leisure trust with charitable status, meaning that financial surpluses are directly reinvested into our facilities and services. It is our simple aim to allow people in the borough to be more active more often and to continue to enjoy the rich cultural heritage in the area in the best way possible.”
Cabinet Member for Leisure, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “We wanted to ensure our leisure and cultural facilities, and the services provided for residents, are protected and taken forward and we believe that in Freedom Leisure we have the right partner to do that.
“Over many years we have demonstrated a very good track record of finding ways in which we can save money while still providing a quality service for the people of Stafford Borough. It is also good to know that Freedom will be investing many millions of pounds across the existing facilities – while at the same time there will be a significant saving to the council’s budget.”