A UK specialist in leisure management has been chosen to run the three leisure centres in East Northamptonshire along with a new outreach programme. East Northamptonshire Council has awarded Freedom Leisure the contract to manage and develop the healthy and active lifestyles offer in the district through the Nene Centre in Thrapston, the Pemberton Centre and Splash Pool in Rushden and a programme that will provide activities in more rural parts of the district.
Council Leader, Steven North, said: “We’re delighted to be forging this exciting partnership with Freedom Leisure. Their expertise and experience will ensure that we are able to provide the widest range of activities for the district and support health and fitness opportunities in our local community. “We would like to thank the staff of Aspirations Wellbeing for the service they have provided over the last 10 years. Freedom Leisure will inherit a talented, committed and enthusiastic team, who will benefit from the opportunities that being part of a bigger organisation will bring. “We will be working with Freedom Leisure and the wider community to reach a number of target groups at community centres and out in the rural villages. These include older people, children, young people and those with disabilities. We believe big improvements can be made in residents’ health and wellbeing by encouraging greater participation in physical activities.”
Ivan Horsfall Turner, Managing Director of not-for-profit leisure trust Freedom Leisure, said: “We are extremely proud to have been appointed as East Northamptonshire District Council’s community leisure partner, to operate the Nene Centre, Pemberton Leisure & Conference Centre and Splash Leisure Pool and to develop a new Sports and Physical Activity Outreach service to operate across the whole district. “Our proposals include significant investment in facilities and services in order to assist us achieve the objective we share with the Council of making a sustainable impact on levels of physical activity and wellbeing within East Northamptonshire.”
David Rushton, Managing Consultant of The Sport, Leisure and Culture Consultancy who provided procurement support to the Council said, “This new contract is an excellent example of how an authority can make significant savings and improve its sport and physical activity services through procurement, using its existing portfolio. Leisure operators are becoming more sophisticated and rising to the challenge of austerity. Other councils can learn from East Northamptonshire by challenging their current management arrangements with a view to getting more for less.” Freedom Leisure was awarded the contract after an extensive tendering process involving 10 companies, 5 of which were shortlisted.
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