Council-owned sport and leisure facilities are to undergo a major overhaul from next week as the UK’s leading leisure charitable social enterprise, GLL, takes over their day-to-day running and management.
Residents are set to benefit from major investment into leisure centres, open spaces, parks and outdoor sports facilities, such as the Croydon Arena athletics track and Ashburton Hall, after GLL was, last year, awarded a new 20-year contract to run the facilities.
The new partnership, which begins on Thursday 1 March, will see the leisure centres’ gym facilities completely refitted to provide state-of-the-art exercise equipment. GLL will also be responsible for ensuring the new multi-million pound New Addington Leisure Centre meets the needs of the local community when it reopens.
Croydon Council will be supporting and working with GLL to encourage more residents to get active and take advantage of the range of facilities available around the borough and explore how to maximise the sports and physical activity available within our parks and green spaces, so they can be used by people of all ages as part of a healthier lifestyle.
As a result of the new contract, which will also see the council make savings of over £1m by 2021, all council leisure centres will temporarily close on Thursday 1 March to enable GLL to rebrand the buildings and carry out essential redecoration. All centres will reopen to the public on Friday 2 March.
“I’m delighted that through this partnership we’ll deliver first-class leisure facilities that residents deserve. This will bring together a transformation of our leisure centres, combined with activity in 30 parks across Croydon and an exciting project at Ashburton Park and Hall.
“Working with an employee-owned social enterprise that pays staff at least the London Living Wage is an important step in our council’s commitment to social justice.”
GLL’s regional director for London West, Simon Sen, added: “We’re very much looking forward to working in partnership with the council, bringing the wider benefits of our Better brand to the residents of Croydon. These include significant investment in facilities and widening active participation through more use of the borough’s parks.”