Six-figure grant secured to help protect town's leisure services

Stevenage councillors are expected to approve the report on Wednesday. Picture: SBC

SBC successfully applied for a government grant of £184,000 to protect the town's leisure services - Credit: Archant

Leisure services in Stevenage have been offered a financial lifeline, after the borough council successfully bid for a six-figure fund.

Stevenage Borough Council will receive £184,000 in government funding to protect publicly-owned leisure centres and gyms that have been decimated financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will allow Stevenage Leisure Limited – which operates leisure facilities on behalf of the council – to continue running its leisure centre, golf course and swimming pool.

This follows council funding of up to £1.38m for leisure services, and £480,000 which was awarded as part of the Cultural Recovery Grant for the Gordon Craig Theatre.

Richard Protheroe, strategic director at Stevenage Borough Council, said: “This funding is crucial in helping Stevenage’s leisure services recover after a difficult year which has resulted in a huge financial strain.

“We know how important leisure facilities are to our communities and the town, and they will be even more important as we recover from the pandemic – helping people to get more fit, healthy and active, and return to the sports and exercise that they enjoy.”

The Government announced that £100m of support for the recovery of publicly-owned leisure centres has now been allocated to 266 local authorities across England.

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The National Leisure Recovery Fund, which opened in December 2020, was established to provide a solid funding platform for the leisure sector to successfully reopen. It has been funded by the Government and managed by Sport England.

Allocations will mean that publicly-owned leisure centres and gyms can begin preparations for reopening as part of Step Two of the Prime Minister’s roadmap, secured by financial backing from the Government. The lifting of restrictions will be subject to approval.

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