Sporta UK changes name to Community Leisure UK

Posted on: November 20, 2018 by Sporta

CHARITABLE trusts across the UK have launched a new identity as they step up a campaign to improve the nation’s health through our public leisure and culture services and facilities.

Swimming pools, parks, leisure centres, museums, libraries and galleries are among a host of public services now delivered by independent community trusts. The trust model, which invests every penny generated back into community services and facilities, has proven successful across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But funding pressures on local government, increasing demand for services across the life span, increasing costs such as energy, combined with procurement decisions based on cheapest cost, are creating a fragile landscape.There is concern that public leisure services are being drawn into a ‘race to the bottom’.

The umbrella organisation for trusts, Sporta UK, has changed its name to tackle a false perception of being a solely sport focused body. The new name, Community Leisure UK, reflects members’ focus on improving the physical and mental health and wellbeing of communities across the UK, breaking down barriers to social inclusion and working with national and local partners to support all people in our communities.

Cate Atwater, Chief Executive of Community Leisure UK, explained: “The new name, brand and proposition for the association came from bespoke research and is far more representative of our members’ work. Our members are there for everyone in the community, whatever they want to do in their leisure time.

“The charitable trust model has helped to develop and protect public services in tough economic times, ensuring every penny of income goes back into the community. Every one of our members share that common purpose. Communities need local, public leisure services, delivered by those who put the needs of their community first.

“Charitable trusts are a key part of civil society, developing deep roots in their communities. They have independent charitable boards of trustees, local people and entrepreneurs, and work in partnership with councils, health services, community organisations and many more. They don’t tend to shout about it, but they have managed to not only keep facilities open and effective services delivering, but improve and develop them thanks to the valuable support of their communities and partners.

“But, as we hear on the news daily, many public services are now at breaking point. So, it’s a simple request now - if we want public leisure and cultural facilities and services to still be there in ten years, we need to enable local authorities, policy makers and community leisure trusts to protect and invest in those services. And it’s more than financial investment - investment is about building a true, transparent, outcome-based and long-term partnership.”

Ms Atwater added: “Real and significant opportunities exist through trusts to develop thriving, local, community leisure services delivering socio-economic and health benefits that underpin national and local government policy. We know our communities and we know that through national and local collaborations, community-focused partnerships, we can ensure we have the public facilities and services necessary to improve the health and wellbeing of current and future generations. Community Leisure UK is committed to helping everyone understand that and providing ways to support our public services.”


Background notes

Sporta UK was founded in 2006 as a network of charitable sport, leisure and culture trusts. Community Leisure UK inherits 112 members in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who meet regularly and hold events and conferences to work with government, NHS and other partners to improve the quality of community facilities and services.

Currently, 43% of public leisure provision across England and 85% across Scotland, is delivered by these non-profit-distributing, independent organisations. We have members formed in the 1960s, but most trusts have been in existence for 10-20 years. Community Leisure UK’s 112 members deliver over 3,700 services and facilities, employ over 67,000 staff, manage a combined turnover of £1.4bn and received 233m customer visits in 2017.

Community Leisure UK members’ facilities and services are used by a wide variety of individuals and groups, with heavily subsidised access, particularly in areas of deprivation. The facilities include swimming pools, libraries, museums, theatres, heritage buildings, community halls, pitches, gyms, ice arenas, beach fronts, parks, woodland and children’s centres.

Our members deliver vital, often lifeline, community services such as GP Referral exercise and books on prescription; a range of support to older people, disabled children and early interventions; social care support; long-term illness, mental health and walking programmes; internet access and support; apprenticeships and training; and a wealth of community sports participation programmes.

Trusts tend to be

  • Companies Limited by Guarantee with charitable status
  • Community Benefit Societies with charitable status
  • Community Interest Companies (CICs), or
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations / Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation

The model of trusts, according to a survey carried out by Winckworth Sherwood (Trusts for Big Society, 2010)

“...enable individuals and communities to participate”.

The model of the trust focuses on utilising cross-subsidy, in two ways:

  • cross-subsidy of services - more profit generating leisure activities will subsidise some health, community-based, library activities etc; and
  • cross-subsidy of individuals - where those that can afford to pay support those who need a subsidy, or those activities that need to be subsidised.

As a members’ association, Community Leisure UK is responsible to its members and an Executive Board.The Executive Board is made up of member trust CEOs or MDs, who are democratically appointed by the membership.

Community Leisure UK is the trading name of the Sport and Recreation Trusts Association.

Pictures included.

Further info

Please contact Cate Atwater (CEO).

Tel: 07817 764786

Before 20 November:

After 20 November:

Website up to 20 November:

Website after 20 November:

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