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South Ribble Borough Council end deal with Serco to bring leisure centres back in-house

Posted on - 9th February, 2021 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston News, South Ribble News
South Ribble Tennis Centre Pic: Google

South Ribble Borough Council will be taking on the management and running of the South Ribble leisure centres from 1 April 2021.

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This includes the Tennis Centre and leisure centres in Leyland, Bamber Bridge and Penwortham.

The decision was taken following a full appraisal of the various options on how best to manage the leisure centres going forward.

Read more: How Preston and South Ribble’s coronavirus infection rates changed during January and vaccine passports ‘won’t be issued’ say government

The change will take effect when the current operating contract with Serco expires on 31 March 2021.

Running the leisure centres directly will mean that South Ribble residents can benefit from improved health and wellbeing programmes linked to the centres.

Councillor Mick Titherington, South Ribble Borough Council Cabinet member for Health & Wellbeing said: “The contract with Serco, which has been in place since 2005, expires at the end of March 2021. It was, therefore, an appropriate time to review and assess how we should manage our facilities going forward.

South Ribble Borough Council Pic: Ian Greig
South Ribble Borough Council Pic: Ian Greig

“Having taken into consideration a number of factors, not least how best to deliver our Health and Wellbeing programme, we decided it was time to take over the management of our facilities ourselves.

“We see this as an exciting development for South Ribble. Taking over the management of our Leisure Facilities will give us a greater opportunity to deliver on our Leisure and Sports Strategy with the aim of ‘Getting More People More Active’.

“We want to make it easier for our residents to make healthier lifestyle choices by offering first class facilities that are easy to access.

“We will be reaching out and working with our communities as part of our ‘Leisure Local’ programme. Coming out of lockdown I hope our residents will see a real difference and be attracted to use our facilities”.

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Mark Snaylam, Serco Leisure, commented: “Our relationship with South Ribble Borough Council is a strong one, which will be maintained during the transition process.

“The priority of this hand over will be the people who will remain working at the leisure facilities, once they reopen. I would like to wish all soon-to-be former colleagues and South Ribble Borough Council every success for the future.”

The same facilities of swimming, fitness suites, classes and tennis. New members will also be welcomed when the centres reopen their doors as the current pandemic restrictions are lifted.

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