Act to help leisure providers

The LGA is warning that gyms and leisure providers face a crisis point, as many aren’t eligible for the Government’s support packages.

It has written to the Secretary of State for Culture, Oliver Dowden MP, calling for the Government to ensure leisure trusts have access to key funding to safeguard services. The LGA says leisure providers – many of which are charities – must be able to access the £750 million grant-based package for the charity and social enterprise sector.

With the average monthly leisure utility and energy bill alone costing £44,000, the Government and utility companies should also agree a short-term reduction in, or waiving of, standing charges for energy and water.

Meanwhile, Local Partnerships will provide support to councils that have contracts with Places Leisure, Greenwich Leisure (GLL), Freedom, and Fusion, in response to requests from providers for financial assistance and/or changes to contractual obligations.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “Leisure facilities are an affordable space for our communities to exercise and socialise with family and friends. They play a key role in improving our communities’ physical and mental wellbeing.

“If we do not act to save these vital community resources, it will cost us much more in the long-term, both socially and economically. It is vital that government works with councils and leisure providers to identify any potential funding to avoid reaching a crisis point.”

‘Options for councils in supporting leisure providers through COVID-19’ on www.local.gov.uk/publications

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