The trust that delivers sports facilities for Cheshire East residents has once again returned a healthy annual report showing a big increase in take up of leisure centre use and membership.
Now in its fifth year, Everybody Sport and Recreation has streamlined its service and reduced its overheads, increasing leisure membership and footfall.
Cheshire East Council is to extend the existing contract with Everybody for a further five years, until April 2029, after a year of increased revenue, customer use and improved facilities. This follows efficiencies worth £7m in its first four years of operation. The trust’s existing contract continues to 2024.
Everybody was set up in 2014 to run the borough’s leisure services and has now expanded its delivery offer to include other public and private sector organisations on a purely commercial basis.
Attendance and leisure use has improved again, with an increase of eight per cent in the number of visits during 2017/18 from 3.1million to 3.3 million. When attendance at the new Holmes Chapel Community Centre is taken into account, the increase is 13 per cent.
Membership of leisure centres rose from 14,872 to 17,938 in the same year.
Independent sports clubs and local groups can access support from Everybody and the trust has given more than 7,000 volunteer hours to independent clubs and schools, while the government-funded ‘Bikeability’ scheme saw 6,020 young people learn safe cycling skills – an increase of 23 per cent.
More than 8,000 customers are involved in the ‘learn to swim’ scheme, which also gives them access to free swim times. But most rewarding for the trust is the number of people – 5,000 – signed up to the new ‘One You’ healthy lifestyle programme, aimed at encouraging the inactive to get active.
Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: “We are extremely pleased with the performance of Everybody. The trust continues to improve on its targets, year on year, helping the council to achieve a key core objective – that people should live well and for longer.
“I am particularly pleased to see the take-up in the One You programme. This is about helping people to stay fit and healthy, reducing the risk of ill-health and serious illness later in life.
“The trust, through the Everybody Foundation, a registered grant-making charity, is also delivering very important work in our schools, with a healthy eating programme, moves to tackle childhood obesity, grants to attend international sports trials and purchases of equipment for sports clubs.
“This is a great success story for the council and the trust but, more importantly, for our residents too. The report demonstrates that people in Cheshire East take their leisure time seriously and want to be fit, healthy and active. It also shows that the services and facilities on offer through the trust are delivering what our local residents want.”
Although the trust delivers the borough’s leisure services, it is the council which is responsible for repairs and maintenance of buildings. The year 2017/18 saw significant improvements at facilities in Macclesfield, Sandbach, Nantwich, Wilmslow, Poynton and Knutsford, with Congleton and Alsager leisure centres next in line for fresh investment.
Frank Jordan, Cheshire East Council executive director of place, said: “By extending this contract now, it will give the trust the confidence to invest further in the facilities and services being delivered.
“In turn, this will bring future benefits to both the council, in terms of value for money through a reduced cost for the service, and for our residents, who will have access to a high-quality leisure provision across Cheshire East.”
Councillor Andrew Kolker, chairman of the trust, which has a board of independent trustees, said: “Our purpose is to provide leisure for life – across all age groups. We want to help local people to take part in sport and recreation so they can enjoy a long and healthy life.
“I am delighted that we have a remarkable increase in the number and frequency of residents using our centres and services.”
Read the 2017/18 annual report from Everybody Sport and Recreation