Community Leisure UK ezine
January 2022
Freedom Leisure trust expands its senior leadership team in Wales

01 Dec 2021

Freedom Leisure, a not-for-profit charitable leisure trust, has strengthened its senior leadership team in Wales following a period of positive performance coupled with an impressive business reactivation post Covid-19.

With three local authority partnerships in Wales, the community focussed charitable organisation is now looking to build on this success and make an even greater impact within the communities it serves.

In partnership with the local authorities of Powys, Swansea and Wrexham – Freedom Leisure has invested over £13m in facilities, activities and services to date*.

This includes investment in energy efficiency measures, resulting in a cumulative saving of almost 2000 tonnes (CO2) across the three contracts between 2015 and 2020.

The facilities operated by the not-for-profit trust across Wales recorded 4.4 million visits during 2019-20, including 30,000 visits from participants of the National Exercise Referral Scheme. The organisation is also at the forefront of swimming in Wales with 11,000 children and adults learning to swim across Powys, Swansea & Wrexham on a weekly basis. This had led to numerous accolades, including Swim Wales Learn to Swim provider of the year, and more recently - partner of the year.

In a bid to spearhead its operations and enhance its delivery in the region, the not-for-profit trust has introduced a new Regional Manager (Wales) role.

Andy Harris, who started his leisure career in 1985, joined Freedom Leisure in 2016 as part of a transfer from Wrexham County Borough Council as the leisure trust embarked on a new contract to operate the leisure services in Wrexham. Harris begins his new role on 1 December and is excited about the future of leisure in Wales.

The newly promoted Harris stated: “Since transferring to Freedom Leisure in 2016, the investment into facilities and the growth in participation across the Wrexham contract has been significant. This investment and improvement has also been evident within our two other operating contracts in Wales. A key objective for Freedom Leisure is to work in collaboration with our local authority partners to ensure that bespoke programmes and outcomes are delivered within the different areas of Wales. I am extremely excited to continue the progress and strengthen the support network across Wales in my new role of Regional Manager.”

Harris will be supported in his new role by Jeremy Rowe, who was recently promoted to Operations Director – with responsibility for Freedom Leisure operations across the UK.

Rowe, from Swansea, has a wealth of leisure experience from working with both local authorities and trusts; and is proud of the success, impact and investment that has been made in Wales.

Rowe added: “Having joined the business in 2015, I am very proud of the impact we have made on the communities and partners we work with in Wales. As a passionate Welshman, I am keen to extend our footprint in Wales and as a not-for-profit trust - seek out and work with new partners across the leisure, health & education sectors. By working together in Wales we can achieve more and I very much look forward to playing a key part in the well-being of future generations and improving lives through leisure."

Photograph: Jeremy Rowe (left) and Andy Harris


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