Investment pledge for Fenland leisure centres

Investment is being planned in leisure centres across Fenland Picture: Submitted

Investment is being planned in leisure centres across Fenland Picture: Submitted

Substantial investment to boost leisure facilities and help people to live healthier, more active lifestyles is being promised in the Fens.

Fenland District Council has awarded a leisure management contract to not-for-profit leisure trust Freedom Leisure to take over the running of the its four leisure centres.

Freedom Leisure 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.

The appointment follows a review of leisure services to determine the best and most efficient way to manage the centres in the future.

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Freedom Leisure is one of the largest leisure operators in the UK, managing over 90 leisure centres across the country. As a not-for-profit organisation, it reinvests surpluses into its facilities to increase active participation.

The contract fee over a 15-year period gives a saving of £351,000 per year against the council's current budget for the management of the centres.

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Mark Buckton, the council's portfolio holder for leisure, 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 pro-actively 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: '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.'

It comes as neighbouring West Norfolk council looks to take back control of King's Lynn Corn Exchange, Lynnsport and three leisure centres from Alive Leisure, which was set up to run them in 2014.

It said developing a new leisure company owned by the council would will improve the possibilities for future investment.

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