Croydon’s council-owned leisure facilities have a bright future ahead, with major investment into buildings and outdoor sports facilities providing the foundations for a new 20-year contract with the UK’s leading leisure charitable social enterprise, GLL.
With the current arrangements due to expire in the spring, the decision to award the contract was announced at tonight’s cabinet meeting (20 November).
The new arrangements will see the council make savings of over £1m by 2021 and there will be no further public subsidies for the duration of the agreement.
The new contract will focus heavily on getting more people to take advantage of what is on offer as part of a healthier lifestyle.
It will involve a full refit of the gym facilities at South Norwood, Thornton Heath, Purley and Waddon, and it will also see the introduction of new state-of-the-art gym and group exercise equipment and the development of outdoor tennis hubs and outdoor activity programmes. All of the centres will meet and maintain the QUEST industry quality standard and a new membership programme will provide a variety of concessions and discounts.
GLL will also have a big part to play in developing the council’s plans for the future New Addington centre, ensuring it is fully equipped to best meet the needs of the local community.
Approximately 30 football pitches and tennis courts in the borough’s parks are included in the contract, and the new operator will have responsibility for bookings as well as for increasing the numbers of people making use of these facilities.
Alongside these changes, the council has negotiated to ensure that GLL fully complies with the London Living Wage, as well as cooperating with Croydon Works to secure employment opportunities for local people.
“The users of our leisure centres deserve the very best in terms of facilities and customer services, and I’m confident this new contract with GLL will deliver on both of these counts. We’re creating new employment opportunities for local people and at the same time saving taxpayers a great deal of money. By improving what’s on offer we will encourage many more people to use these facilities as part of a healthier lifestyle. Everyone is going to win from this move, and I’m looking forward to being able to formally welcome GLL on board in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
Chris Symons, GLL’s director of development, said: “I’m delighted GLL has been chosen as the preferred partner to deliver Croydon’s Leisure Service.
“We bring 25 years of experience and stability in the leisure industry with the remit to get more people more active more often.
“GLL will put affordability and accessibility at the heart of its offer to the people of Croydon.”
For legal reasons the decision will be formally confirmed on 29 November.