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October 21, 2013
A new partnership is being created to run sports and recreation facilities in South Lakeland.
The new partner is North Country Leisure (NCL), a charitable trust, which currently delivers services in Eden, Copeland, and Northumberland which attract more than 2 million customer visits a year.
It will work with South Lakeland District Council, managing Kendal Leisure Centre, Ulverston Swimming Pool and Outdoor Complex, and Windermere Outdoor centre, from April 1 next year.
NCL aims to invest £750,000 improving facilities in Kendal and Ulverston including revamping fitness, studio, and changing areas. It also intends to introduce fun, challenging activities for people of all ages such as its “Better Swimmers Sooner” swimming lesson programme and “Active Life,” aimed to help older people and those new to, or returning to exercise.
The organisation brings great experience and a strong track record of working with partners to promote health and wellbeing. For example 750 people are referred to NCL’s “Healthy Life” scheme by their GPs each year.
During the interim period all facilities will remain open as usual and existing staff from the current operators, Lakes Leisure, will transfer to the new partnership in a seamless transition.
NCL, which already runs 12 major leisure sites in Cumbria and Northumberland, is planning to recruit extra staff to work with local groups to bring a programme of sports and recreation activities direct to communities across South Lakeland as well as working with Cumbria Sport and the Physical Activity Alliance Foundation.
The charity will work in partnership with Carlisle Leisure Limited to develop events held at Westmorland Hall, Kendal, and invest in leisure training opportunities. NCL will introduce its existing apprenticeship programme which supports 24 young people who are developing careers in sport and leisure.
Graham Vincent, SLDC Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to create modern and better leisure facilities, and programmes, for the residents of South Lakeland.
“As well as managing our sports and recreation centres NCL will introduce new outreach programmes to help bring leisure opportunities direct to people of all ages in their local communities. They will also promote the benefits of participation in physical activity.
“SLDC is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all our residents and this new partnership will be central to our aspiration to make South Lakeland the best place to live, work, and explore.”
NCL Chief Executive John Maude said: “We look forward to a long and successful partnership with South Lakeland District Council and the local community, helping people to enjoy healthy, positive activities throughout the year.”
SLDC and NCL will establish a new board to manage the partnership. The new contract will run for a period of 10 years with the potential to be renewed for two further five-year periods.