Participation at Powys leisure centres increases – Powys County Times

MORE people in Powys used the county’s leisure centres in 2019/20 compared to the previous financial year, the county council has said.

Powys County Council has received the 2019-20 end of year report from its leisure partners Freedom Leisure. The not-for-profit organisation has been managing and delivering leisure services on behalf of the council since July 2015.

The report shows that active participation at leisure centres increased by 2.9 per cent in 2019/20 compared to 2018/19 while there was a 5.7 per cent increase in the number of children that enrolled on Freedom Leisure’s swim school lessons in the last financial year.

Income had grown by 2.1 per cent in 2019/20 compared to 2018/19 and 99 per cent of compliance audits were achieved – an increase of one per cent on the last financial year.

A total of 27,724 people took part in the Welsh Government free swimming initiative in 2019/20 – 31 per cent lower compared to the previous financial year, after the scheme was revised and its funding reduced by the Welsh Government.

Participation in health participation schemes available at leisure centres saw a drop of 52 per cent in 2019/20 compared to 2018/19 after the loss of two specialist instructors. New instructors were recruited but this took longer than expected.

Councillor Rachel Powell, cabinet member for leisure services, said: “Since Freedom Leisure have been managing and delivering leisure services on behalf of the council, leisure and sports centres have seen an increase in participation as well as an increase in the range of fitness classes and other opportunities.

“There has also been a significant investment in facilities as a result of our partnership with Freedom Leisure.

“2019/20 was a good year for our leisure partners, who saw a continuous increase in participation, income, children’s swimming lessons, compliance, demonstration of collaborative working and further investment in facilities.

“Unfortunately, the centres had to close in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and this impacted on the final figures.

“Overall, the partnership is working well. We closely and regularly monitor data, performance, compliance and outcomes as part of the contract with Freedom Leisure to ensure that an effective and viable leisure service is provided to the residents and communities of Powys.”

The end of year report will be considered by the council’s economy, residents, communities and governance scrutiny committee next Monday, December 14.