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New contract for management of eight major sport and cultural facilities agreed

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A new management contract for eight major sports and cultural centres in St Albans District has been awarded.

St Albans City and District Council has agreed a ten-year deal with Sport and Leisure Management (SLM) trading under the brand name Everyone Active.

The company already operates Westminster Lodge and the Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre on the Council’s behalf.

It will now take over six other Council-owned facilities that have been run by another leisure contractor, including the Alban Arena and Harpenden’s Eric Morecambe Centre.

The other venues are Batchwood Golf Course and Sports Centre, Abbey View Golf Course and Athletics Track, Cotlandswick Leisure Centre and Harpenden Leisure Centre.

The contract, which is due to start on Tuesday 1 November, was awarded after a competitive tender with two other companies making bids.

Councillor Helen Campbell, Chair of the Public Realm Committee, said:

The process for deciding the management contract for our leisure facilities was rigorous and exhaustive.

We were determined to get the best possible deal for our residents and I believe we have done that with our comprehensive partnership with Everyone Active.

One major change is that the management of our sports centres will no longer be split between two contractors. The great advantage for residents of having a sole contractor is that they will be able to use all the sporting facilities with one membership card.

Previously, for example, anyone wanting to regularly use the gym at Cotlandswick and swim at Westminster Lodge had to take out and pay for two memberships.

As part of the contract, SLM will undertake an 18-month programme of improvements to the facilities including the refurbishment of gyms and works to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings.

They will also expand their Active Communities scheme that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of all members of the community including older people.

Staff who work on the six sites run by the other leisure contractor will be transferred to SLM.

The decision to partner with SLM was made by the Public Realm Committee at its June meeting on the recommendation of its Leisure Procurement Working Party.

The Council worked closely with external advisors The Sports Consultancy, recommended by Sport England owing to their expertise in the field, throughout the tender process which began in September 2021.  

Cllr Campbell added:

In deciding the contract, we evaluated both the commercial and technical aspects of the three bids. SLM offered the most financially advantageous bid and also excelled in terms of the quality of service and innovation.

We look forward to collaborating with them in the years ahead to further enhance our sports and cultural centres which are among our most important community assets, greatly valued by our residents.

Leicestershire-based SLM has partnerships with more than 60 local authorities across England, managing in excess of 200 leisure centres.

Duncan Jefford, Regional Director of Everyone Active, said:

We are delighted to be extending our work with St. Albans City and District Council as we believe leisure and cultural facilities are pivotal in providing a wide range of services to the community.

We want the community to view our leisure centres and theatres as community hubs and will work hard to engage and educate people from all backgrounds in not only physical activity, but also arts and cultural activity. 

The new contract includes significant investments that will help to create improved opportunities for people. I am delighted that we have been chosen to support these visions.

  • Everyone Active will contact all members of the leisure centres not currently under their management to inform them of how their membership will be transferred.

 

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