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Cash-strapped council signs leisure centres over to GLL

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The management of two leisure centres in Preston, Lancashire, will be transferred to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) in a bid to boost fitness services in the city.

As part of a major overhaul, Fulwood and West View leisure centres will be transferred to the charitable social enterprise, as budget cuts take their toll on Preston City Council.

The cost of running both centres to the council is around £1m for 2016/17.

The deal with GLL will see £2m invested in the two facilities and includes 87 permanent, 193 casual and eight fixed-term contract staff. The permanent staff will be transferred to GLL on their existing terms and conditions.

The transfer date is planned for 1 April 2017.

Councillor Peter Rankin, Preston council leader, said: “Without doubt this is one of the most important decisions taken by the city council in recent times. It means a bright new future for the whole of Preston’s leisure service with new investment and fresh approach.

“The funding the council now receives from central government is over £8m per annum less than it received in 2012. One of the impacts of the funding reduction is that the council is simply no longer able to afford to keep the leisure centres running. In 2015/16 the leisure service cost the council approximately £1m. Therefore we’ve had to look at alternative options – and I am delighted at this deal with GLL.”

Councillor Peter Kelly, cabinet member for leisure and culture, added: “This is a landmark deal for Preston as it ensures the future for our popular and well used leisure centres. It means over £2m of new investment will be made into Fulwood and West View to both improve and expand the leisure facilities there.”

Mark Sesnan, GLL managing director, said: “Preston is key to the expansion of GLL’s health and wellbeing offer in the north of England.

“Our social enterprise goes from strength to strength with more people getting more active more often. We look forward to welcoming leisure staff into the GLL family and greeting many new and existing customers at Preston’s leisure centres, which will be operated under our successful Better brand.

“We are thrilled at the prospect and opportunity in the city. Preston has a fantastic reputation in the leisure industry and we aim to build on this and really take the leisure service forward from day one.”

Established in 1993, GLL is the largest UK-based charitable social enterprise delivering leisure, health and community services. It operates more than 300 public facilities, including 250 leisure centres and 88 libraries, under the consumer facing brand Better, and in partnership with more than 30 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations.

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The management of two leisure centres in Preston, Lancashire, will be transferred to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) in a bid to boost fitness services in the city.
HAF
Fulwood and West View leisure centres will be under GLL management in April
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