Leisure Centres & Wellbeing Services in Wigan and Leigh will be managed by the Council from April 1 following a mutual agreement to safeguard jobs and vital services.
Providing high quality leisure and wellbeing services has always been a key priority for Wigan Council and Inspiring healthy lifestyles (Ihl), the provider of leisure services in Wigan Borough since 2003 Both parties said they were immensely proud of what had been achieved in the last 17 years, with leisure centres, country parks, outdoor education and essential wellbeing services going from strength-to-strength thanks to a strong partnership approach and dedicated workforce.
Gareth Cross, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Inspiring healthy lifestyles, said: “I, along with every member of the board of Trustees, are incredibly proud of every member of the Charity’s workforce who have shown nothing but hard work, commitment and dedication throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and the last 17 years of providing public services.”
“The impact on the leisure, culture and wellbeing sector has been significant. Wigan Council and Inspiring healthy lifestyles have been working together to determine the best way forward in these challenging times. Our shared priority is to safeguard jobs and to protect the continued provision of physical activity, wellbeing and leisure services for residents and communities.”
The Leader of Wigan council, Cllr David Molyneux said: “Leisure and Wellbeing Services are a key priority for the council, our NHS partners and our communities. Young people also told us clearly in our recent Big Listening project that health and wellbeing is of critical importance for them high and that is why I have asked Cllr Chris Ready to take on this important addition to his portfolio alongside culture and communities.”
Councillor Ready, Cabinet member with responsibility for these services, said: “We have fantastic leisure and wellbeing services in our borough that we have invested significantly in over recent years – from our leisure centres to our wonderful green spaces and targeted work with our health partners to support residents with long term health conditions.
“We have been very clear that we need to protect these vital services for residents and the fantastic staff that work in our leisure centres and open spaces. I am very pleased that despite the financial impact of Covid-19 on the leisure sector, we can protect staff and services for residents and members of our leisure centres in this way.
“We have big ambitions for the future of these services, and I look forward to working with our residents and communities to make them a reality.”
Following the successful transfer of library services in 2017 the council will now undertake a consultation with Wigan-based leisure staff with a view of transferring existing services back into the council in early 2021
Regular updates will be provided over the next few months.