01 Jul 2020
ukactive and Community Leisure UK have warned that nearly half of all public leisure facilities in the UK face permanent closure by the end of the year, unless local authorities receive urgent ring-fenced funding from the Government. Public leisure centres, swimming pools and community services which are funded via local authorities, and delivered either in-house or by trusts and management providers, face a shortfall of more than £800m this financial year (2020–2021).
There are 2,727 public leisure facilities in the UK, employing 76,000 full-time staff, in addition to freelance staff and casual workers such as personal trainers. The bodies have urged MPs to call on Central Government to provide ring-fenced funding to support local authorities to maintain these vital community assets. Public leisure provision contributes £3.3bn in social value to the UK ever year, measured through savings to the NHS as well as improved wellbeing and mental health. Public gyms and leisure facilities are proven to have a positive impact on educational attainment, productivity, reducing crime and loneliness, and engaging inactive and disadvantaged communities.