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A kick forward for leisure in Trafford with Trafford Leisure CIC

October 1st saw the seamless handover of the borough’s leisure facilities to a new Community Interest Company, Trafford Leisure CIC ltd. Previously, Trafford Community Leisure Trust operated the 8 leisure centres, 2 golf course and community sport delivery on behalf of the council and had done so since 2003, all this has all now moved over to the new company along with the 500 employees the Trust previously employed. 

Similar to the Leisure Trust, Trafford Leisure is a non-profit distributing organisation where any surplus income is reinvested back into the leisure operation. Trafford Leisure is wholly owned by Trafford Council and serves to deliver leisure provision to the Trafford community with an aim and company mission of getting more people more active more often.

Jo Cherrett, Chief Operating Officer for Trafford Leisure said, “Behind the scenes the transfer has been hard work and we have been most definitely burning the candle at both ends, but I’m delighted how it has gone. For our customers and staff the transfer to the new company has most definitely been business as usual and ultimately this means that our customers will have noticed no change really with the service delivery and products on offer. The only real noticeable difference has been the introduction of the new company logo, our aim was always to ensure nothing changed for our customers and to deliver the same great service the Leisure Trust delivered for the previous 12 years.” 

The Leisure Trust and Trafford Council had worked together for some time to try to develop a sustainable business model to continue the future of the Trust, within the context of a withdrawal of revenue subsidy for Leisure, and the need for significant capital investment for improvement and redevelopment into the Leisure Centres. This investment is essential to ensure a fit for purpose provision that is sustainable for the future. The Leisure Trust ultimately indicated that as a small local charity, they were not in a position to provide the level of capital required to make the essential investment into the facilities, whilst continuing to operate the Centres with no subsidy. The next steps led to Trafford Council to work alongside the Trust and develop a new operating company for the leisure services in the form of a Community Interest Company, Trafford Leisure. This expectation now is that this company can continue the service and build a platform to take leisure provision in Trafford to the next level. 

Jo continues by saying, “The Leisure Trust over the past 12 years have done a fantastic job, taking 800,000 customer visits in the first year in which it operated to 2.5 million in recent years, making Trafford one of the most active Boroughs in the UK. We have a lot of challenges ahead and we are looking forward to tackling these but ultimately our aim is to take on from where the Leisure Trust left off and build on the Trust strengths and Kick forward and develop a first class leisure operation that the whole of the Trafford Community deserves”.   

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