SLC was commissioned by Ipswich Borough Council in March 2019 to develop a new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy and Sports Facilities Strategy for the future delivery of the Council’s sport and leisure services which:

  • Are informed by the current and future needs of Ipswich residents and an assessment of the capacity of the existing service to meet these needs, both now and in the future
  • Are developed in partnership with and supported by Councillors, key stakeholders and partners
  • Secure a sustainable future for sport and leisure facilities and services through robust, evidence-based capital and revenue interventions.

SLC’s approach included a comprehensive needs analysis supported by consultation with key strategic stakeholders and partners, existing service users, less active groups, sports clubs and the wider public. SLC also undertook a review of the existing service including an assessment of its capacity to meet the current and future needs of Ipswich residents through supply and demand analysis.

The new Sport and Physical Activity Strategy provides the Council and its stakeholder partners with a clear framework for the delivery of sport and physical activity services across Ipswich through a clearly defined set of strategic priorities, supporting objectives and a robust and measurable action plan. It also identified opportunities for revenue interventions designed to support the new facility mix through the delivery of innovative services, programmes and initiatives targeted at less active groups.

The new Sports Facilities Strategy identified a series of required capital investments supported by detailed costings and revenue business plans, to provide the Council with an understanding of the projected return on investment.

The draft strategies were reviewed and updated following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions to ensure they are framed within the context of the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic.

This ‘end to end’ process provided the Council with clarity on the future strategic direction of its leisure services, the capital interventions required to sustainably meet current and future need and the revenue interventions required to support and complement this investment.

The Sport and Physical Activity Strategy was adopted by the Council in March 2022 and the Sports Facilities Strategy was approved in June 2022. SLC has subsequently been appointed to support the delivery of two major projects set out within the strategy, working with DB3 Architects on design to RIBA Stage 3 for a new Aquatics Centre in the town centre and a new dry sports centre at Gainsborough.


SLC has provided excellent support to us in a complex and challenging review. We have valued your expertise and approach and are grateful for your patience as our needs changed. The team’s expertise and sector knowledge shone through all our interactions and we would not have been able to achieve such progress without this.

Helen Pluck – Deputy Chief Executive – Ipswich Borough Council.