SLC has reached a significant milestone in June 2024 and is celebrating its 15th anniversary.

Since its incorporation, SLC has become the leading strategic advisor to the public leisure sector, played a key role in championing the pivot to active wellbeing and enabled half a £ billion of investment into public facilities.

Duncan Wood-Allum, founder and managing director of SLC reflecting on the early years said,

“SLC was conceived off the back of a global study tour which included an invitation from the City of New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and speaking at the New Zealand Recreation Association National Conference in Autumn 2008.  We started in a spare bedroom office and built the business initially with the support of associates, many of whom such as Paul Weston we still work with to this very day.”

In terms of supporting projects and clients, SLC’s work has primarily been focused in three key areas – strategic support and strategy development, feasibility and master planning, and procurement and partnering support.

Key highlights include:

Strategic support

  • Supporting the development of Sheffield City Council’s Sport and Leisure Strategy 2023-2033 and Bristol City Council’s Sport and Physical Activity Strategy 2020 – 2025
  • Developing over 30 other local authority leisure sport and physical activity strategies
  • Leading the Pivot to Active Wellbeing Programme from 2020-2024 for Greater Manchester Councils
  • Developing the strategic outcomes planning guidance nationally to support needs led approaches to delivering outcomes for active communities
  • Undertaking major reviews of NBS and Quest in 2019 for Sport England
  • Supporting Stockport Council develop its successful partnership with Life Leisure CIC

Feasibility & master planning

  • Supporting a total of £500 million + of committed investment into new sustainable facilities through feasibility and business case work
  • Business case support for the Parramatta Aquatics Centre, Australia ($88 million) in 2023
  • Securing investment into West Hendon Playing Fields Barnet – £18.8 million
  • Feasibility study for the new Cranleigh Leisure Centre due for completion 2025
  • £100 million business case for Sheffield City Council’s investment in transforming its sport and leisure facility portfolio

Procurement & partnering support

  • Undertaking over 40 leisure procurements and sustainable partnerships since 2015
  • Developing the leisure services delivery guidance for Sport England using SLC intellectual property shared with the wider sector in 2019 and 2022
  • Delivering over £100 million of cashable savings from procurements and partnering support and significant additional social value in all new contracts
  • Leading new approaches to embed active wellbeing into sustainable active communities partnerships

A campaigning consultancy

SLC has led on a number of key sector issues over the last 15 years. Highlights include:

  • A campaign to remove junk food from leisure facilities resulting in national guidance promoting healthier choices
  • Championing the pivot to active wellbeing with progressive clients such as North Yorkshire, Malvern Hills and Wigan Council advocating a greater preventative role for the public active wellbeing sector
  • Highlighting the issues around workforce development and its lack of alignment to support the sector achieving allied health professional status
  • Promoting best practice and tackling the ‘race to the bottom’ in public leisure procurements

SLC’s philosophy has set it apart from other consultancies in the leisure sector. It has held strong beliefs and been prepared to disrupt and challenge the status quo – often standing as a lone voice that is then joined by other early adopters.

In 2023 SLC became the first B-Corp in the sector reinforcing its social and environmental credentials and has held ISO9001 accreditation since 2015.

SLC has developed over 100 articles, conference presentations and run over 35 Think Tank Seminars to support peer to peer learning. SLC supported the public leisure sector during COVID with information exchanges and partnership support for 23 local authorities and their operator partners including three core cities.

SLC also authored the very influential Strategic Outcomes Planning Guidance in 2020 and 2022 alongside Sport England.

One outstanding feature of SLC’s work has been the feedback we receive from clients. SLC has consistently achieved outstanding satisfaction scores and glowing testimonials throughout its history. SLC’s current net promoter score is 10 – the maximum that can be achieved.

Another key feature of SLC’s philosophy is to support schools, charities and smaller organisations wherever possible with pro bono or heavily discounted support. This has included projects for sported, mentoring young people at Oathall School, Haywards Heath for the last 5 years, supporting schools facing planning issues and advising parish councils.

SLC has also supported a number of young people through work experience opportunities and many of these have gone on to pursue successful careers in blue chip consulting including Dominic Hillier and Charlie Claisse.

In August 2024, SLC will be hosting GB Hockey Goalkeeper James Mazarello for a month as James is keen to explore the work we do to support inclusive, healthy and active communities.

Duncan concluded, “It’s been the greatest challenge and privilege of my life to have worked alongside such fantastic colleagues, associates, advocates and clients.

It’s been great to see colleagues who have spent time on our journey working with us do so well in their careers and to have some of our stars shine so brightly and lead the business today.

I’ve been supported throughout SLC’s journey by mentors Martyn Allison and Richard Leman who chaired SLC and supported our growth between 2014-2019.

At SLC we now have a team that is nationally respected, whose influence and work goes way beyond our consulting work and support for our clients. My vision for the business has been surpassed through the brilliance of my colleagues and our clients in their passion for making a difference to people’s lives.

Over the next 15 years we aim to support positive change and with a new government on the way, will continue to support the sector where we can in becoming a more integral part of the system.”


Toby Kingsbury, Director said,

“I’m extremely proud of being part of the SLC team that has supported so many clients to achieve great outcomes for the communities they serve. When I joined SLC over eight years ago I never thought I’d have the opportunity to help shape the services of so many local authorities. To say it’s been rewarding is a huge understatement!

Our sector has faced unprecedented challenges in recent years. But we’ve been able to steer our clients through these, remaining steadfast in our shared commitment to supporting active wellbeing. We fully expect the future to remain challenging but have a team that never stops learning and can flex and respond to whatever lies ahead. Here’s to the next 15 years!”


Anna Dalton, Director said,

“Having been with SLC almost from the beginning, it is amazing to reflect on the work this relatively small team has done and the impact it has had in communities across the UK. We like to think that our commitment to our clients and to supporting them to achieve the outcomes they want is what really sets us apart. I think that is reflected in the relationships that we have with our clients – many of whom we have worked with over many years. It’s a pleasure to work alongside such dedicated people and I look forward to that continuing as SLC goes into its next 15 years.”


Key milestones

2009 SLC is incorporated in June

2012 Anna Dalton joined as a part time research consultant and 6 promotions later became a Director in 2021.

2014 David Rushton joined to support us in disrupting the leisure procurement market and SLC began to redefine it, culminating in being commissioned to write national guidance for Sport England in 2019/20.

2015 Toby Kingsbury joined from Brighton and Hove City Council and adapted brilliantly to consulting, becoming a Director in 2019.

2015 – SLC delivers its first successful leisure procurement for Worcester City Council

2019 SLC develop the Sport England Strategic Outcomes planning guidance

2021 SLC develop the Sport England Leisure Services Delivery Guidance

2023 SLC achieves B Corp Certification

2024 SLC completes its Pivot to Active Wellbeing Programme workstreams for Greater Manchester Councils