Government Spending Review: Thoughts from a Leisure Perspective

paul cluett 2Following the Government Spending Review, Paul Cluett, Managing Director at Alliance, shares his thoughts on the situation.

Whilst the recent Spending Review announcements by George Osborne were, on the face of it, favourable to the Sports sector with UK Sports receiving a 29% boost to assist elite sports men and women build on the successes of London 2012, at the grass roots, things may not be quite so bright.

Local Authorities will be having to make tough choices about how, and indeed if, they deliver sport, leisure and physical activity services to their local communities.  As Graeme McDonald, director of Solace stated “Without more fundamental change to how local services are paid for and provided, the support individuals and communities receive will be drastically curtailed.”

There is a real opportunity to seize the moment.  In the municipal leisure sector we have been guilty of accepting a polarised view as to what sports centres should be, often resulting in high levels of revenue subsidy.  Coupled with an historic lack of ongoing investment in ageing infrastructure, the result is a toxic mix of expensive and unsustainable facilities which don’t resonate with the physical, social and health needs of the communities they serve.

Transforming Old Leisure into New

Transforming Old Leisure into New

Whether services are delivered directly, by a Trust or a Contractor, the crucial ingredient for them all is the range of activities they offer.  Despite the relaxation on the removal of tax credits, there is no question that over the next few years, those in society who are most vulnerable, will be facing increasing financial challenges with the implementation of the Universal Credit.  This means that the need to offer activities that attract all members of society to participate in physical activity has never been greater.  Indeed, if we are to encourage hard to reach groups to be active, we must look at the choice of facilities along with the pricing strategies to ensure that we get it right.

To coin a phrase, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”.  Let us now consider how we can innovatively transform leisure assets to provide relevant activity opportunities to all sections of society in an affordable and sustainable way.  If we don’t, the probable consequence could well be a dramatic reduction in local authority leisure provision.

Work Starts at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre

Work has started today on the £3.6m investment at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre with construction partner Createability. Alliance Leisure were appointed as the development partner for South Gloucestershire Council and Circadian Trust and the Bradley Stoke project will be the first in this partnership.
bradley stoke lc
The development will include:
– 17-Wall XHeight climbing facility
– Large adventure play
– 12-Station toning suite
– Larger Group Exercise and Multi-Purpose Studios
– Gym Expansion
– Party Rooms
– Additional Parking Spaces
– Refurbished Changing Rooms
– Soho Café Expansion

The project is being phased to minimise disruption to the centre:

Phase 1:
Conversion of 2 squash courts to 2 large studio’s
Refurbishment of the female dry changing rooms
Completes early May 2016

Phase 2:
Conversion of 2 courts from the 6 court hall to climbing and play
Refurbishment of the male changing rooms
Gym extension
Café extension
Car park expansion
Façade upgrade
Completes October 2016

Phase 3:
Conversion of existing soft play to toning and 2 party rooms
Refurbishment of existing studio’s
Completes January 2017

Environmental Award presented to Alliance Leisure

Alliance Leisure were proud to collect their Investors In the Environment (iiE) Silver Accreditation Award at the annual ceremony held at Peterborough’s Kingsgate Conference Centre on the 2nd February 2016.

iiE Award

Tom Fairey, Business Development Manager for Alliance Leisure collects the company accreditation

IIE Silver AwardInvestors in the Environment (iiE) is a national initiative to recognise and accredit companies that commit to green practices in all they do, and strive to maintain and improve them.  After a recent assessment of Alliance’s energy efficiency and environmental impact throughout the business, the company were accredited with the iiE Silver Award, acknowledging the contribution to green initiatives and good practice.