Efforts to get leisure centres back up and running have received a welcome boost from the £100 million National Leisure Recovery Fund. Local authorities across England have received funding via Sport England to return to their core function of providing sport and physical activity facilities. It comes after many council-owned centres were repurposed to provide other community functions such as Covid-19 testing or vaccination during lockdown. Under the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, outdoor sports opened up from March 29. Indoor sports facilities reopened for socially distanced use from April 12, with group classes scheduled to return from May 17. At Stadia Sports we believe local authority-owned leisure facilities play a vital role in ensuring fitness facilities remain available and affordable in our communities. But many are in desperate need of updates and refurbishment and we welcome the National Leisure Recovery Fund’s role in supporting this.
Investment in sports pays for itself
Figures released last year (2020) by the Local Government Association showed that up to 63 per cent of sports halls and swimming pools are more than 10 years old. Nearly a quarter of all sports halls and swimming pools have not been refurbished in more than 20 years. Councils are not legally required to provide sport and recreation services and this area is often overlooked in budget planning. But campaigners believe access to physical activity opportunities have so many health and social benefits, it should be mandatory for local authorities. Community sports facilities can help to remove barriers to fitness, cutting the need for out-of-town travel and expensive memberships. As well as enhancing physical and mental wellbeing, taking part in regular exercise and sport addresses other important issues such as preventing social isolation and encouraging life-long healthy habits. Access to leisure opportunities can also contribute towards shaping communities, improving social capacity and tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.
Sports centre funding supports 266 local authorities
Over the last 12 months the coronavirus pandemic has led to a new focus on the importance of sport and fitness. Throughout the restrictions, maintaining the right to daily exercise has been crucial to the nation’s wellbeing. Gyms and leisure centres are now viewed as playing a critical role in the UK’s recovery to help communities come back fitter and stronger. Sport England chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth, said: “Leisure facilities have a vital role to play in supporting the health of the nation and in particular in serving our more disadvantaged communities. “They have been hit especially hard over the past year, so this investment is crucial and will help thousands to reopen when it becomes possible to do so – supporting the recovery and helping people get back to the activity they have badly missed. “Sport England has worked at pace to enable the distribution of the investment to happen as quickly as possible and remains committed to doing what we can to continue to support this crucial part of our sector.”
forces to put sport at the heart of recovery
At Stadia Sports we pride ourselves on offering a wide range of equipment manufactured and selected for all levels of user – from elite professionals to absolute beginners. Each item we supply is of a high-quality standard, able to withstand repeated, regular use to ensure all our customers can achieve value from their purchase. Whatever the grade of equipment, everything we offer is developed for performance and longevity. That’s what makes us an effective partner for local authorities. Our sports hall repairs and modifications service is also a key tool in ensuring best value is achieved. Our engineers work across the country, fixing issues such as netting system jams and football goal post repairs. With social distancing still likely to be a requirement, we have a wide range of essential barriers and pitch side equipment; marking supplies; division nets and rebound boards. And of course an increase in demand by users may also call for a changing room refit or an investment in wheelaway or freestanding equipment to allow for a more flexible approach to community provision. With an extension to the 2019/20 PE and sport premium and Return to Play funding available from Sport England, we would urge all local authority, school and community fitness organisations to seize these opportunities to invest. Keeping our neighbourhoods fit and healthy is our mission. Give us a call to find out how Stadia Sports can support your local authority as it works to reopen its leisure centres.