Public sector leisure forecasting 300,000 losses in the next three months without government intervention
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Public sector leisure forecasting 300,000 losses in the next three months without government intervention

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Up to 48 per cent of public leisure facilities could close by the end of 2020, resulting in the loss of 300,000 jobs, according to the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) and ukactive.

Urging the government to provide the sport and physical activity sector with immediate financial support, CIMSPA warned that the public sector and leisure trusts are at a "critical point".

Although gyms and leisure facilities reopened on 25 July, there are fears that ongoing capacity restrictions will result in operators being forced to close a significant number of their facilities.

Once closed, it says, the cost of reopening these facilities will be high – and many may be permanently lost.

Speaking to HCM, Tara Dillon, CIMSPA chief executive, said time was running out to help secure the sector's long-time future. She said that funding proposals were submitted to the government "several weeks ago".

"With the right intervention now, this sector could get through the next few months of restrictions, successfully trade out of this crisis and be one of the fastest sectors to recover," she said.

"Jobs would be protected and the health, community and social value of the sector would be maintained.

“We are not looking for a bailout. This was a thriving industry before the pandemic and it will be again, but we need investment now to get through the next six months.

"At a time when the nation's health and wellbeing is a central priority, it would be a travesty if this doesn't happen. This sector will save the NHS on average £9.5bn each year."

The crisis has created an elephant in the room for the industry, with private sector operators likely to benefit from any public sector closures which occur.

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Up to 48 per cent of public leisure facilities could close by the end of 2020, resulting in the loss of 300,000 jobs, according to the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) and ukactive.
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