The future of public leisure and culture services in Wychavon is receiving nationwide backing with the launch of Community Leisure UK.
The association of charitable trusts and social enterprises is focusing a national campaign on supporting the retention and development of public leisure and culture facilities and services, including those managed by Rivers Fitness.
The trust model, which invests every penny generated back into community services and facilities, has proven successful across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But funding pressures on local government, increasing demand for services, combined with procurement decisions based on cheapest cost, are creating a fragile landscape. There is concern that much-needed public leisure services are being drawn into a ‘race to the bottom’.
The umbrella organisation for trusts, Community Leisure UK – formerly Sporta – is committed to supporting Rivers Fitness and our local partners in our vision to improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our communities, breaking down barriers to social inclusion and supporting all ages.
Cate Atwater, Chief Executive of Community Leisure UK, explained: “The charitable trust model has helped to develop and protect our public services in tough economic times, ensuring every penny of income goes back into your community. Communities need local, public leisure services, delivered by those who put the needs of their locality first.
“As we hear on the news daily, many public services are now at breaking point. So, it’s a simple request now – if we want public leisure and cultural facilities and services to still be there in ten years, we need to enable local authorities, policy makers and community leisure trusts to protect and invest in those services. And it’s about more than financial investment – investment is about building a true, transparent and long-term partnership.”
Peter Williams, MD of Rivers Fitness, stated: “We have a strong passion to develop our services to be suitable for and supportive of every person in our communities, and while that’s a challenge in the current economic climate it’s one we’re committed to, and working with our people and partners across Wychavon to achieve that.
“Community Leisure UK is working on our behalf with government, health and other key partners so that we can all work together to protect our services, and we are committed to working with trusts across the UK to ensure we can deliver the best facilities and services to support the health and wellbeing of current and future generations in and around Wychavon.”