Greenwich Leisure expands into children’s centres

Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), the UK’s largest leisure mutual, has taken on four major new contracts, including management of its first children centres. GLL now operates ten children’s...

Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), the UK’s largest leisure mutual, has taken on four major new contracts, including management of its first children centres.

GLL now operates ten children’s centres through a three-year partnership with Greenwich Council, with a possible two-year extension. It will be assisting in areas including child development, school readiness, parenting skills and child and family health.

This is a new area for GLL, which runs more than 140 public sport and leisure centres and 27 libraries, including three prison libraries, in partnership with over 30 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations.

Gillian Palmer, director of children’s services for Greenwich Council, said: “GLL’s bid for the contract was particularly strong as it showed an understanding of local needs, with proposals to expand and enhance services through linking with other GLL services within the community.”

GLL has also been awarded a three-year management contract to operate nine leisure centres on behalf of Manchester City Council from 1 October, subject to council confirmation.

And a week after the Manchester contract began, GLL announced its merger with Carlisle Leisure Limited (CLL), which means GLL will operate all of the leisure and sporting facilities in Carlisle and Allerdale from 1 February 2015. The merger was announced after staff of CLL, an industrial provident society, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the move during its annual staff meeting this September.

GLL has also been awarded long-term leases for six of Swindon’s leisure facilities from 1 November. It already manages the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon. Long-term leases with Swindon Borough Council will see GLL make an initial £3m investment of their own funds to enhance facilities and services across the borough. For its part, the council will provide up to £2m for investment in the facilities.

The decision to appoint GLL was prompted by Swindon Borough Council’s need to make significant savings over the next three years and will result in a saving of about £1.4m in annual subsidies.

Mark Sesnan, managing director of GLL, welcomed the new contracts. “Our status as a not-for-profit’ charitable social enterprise means that we have both the operational skills and community focus that will enable us to successfully operate these kind of facilities,” he said.

• This article has been updated to change “largest leisure co-operative” to “largest leisure mutual”. While GLL is registered as an industrial and provident society, and has a mixed ownership model (between employees and the community), it is classed as a mixed ownership mutual. GLL also adhere to some of the co-operative principles, but not all.

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