£200k rescue bailout for leisure centres in Rushden and Thrapston

East Nothamptonshire Council is using some of its funding from Government to help keep the firm that runs its leisure centres afloat
The Nene Centre in Thrapston is run by Freedom Leisure on behalf of the council.The Nene Centre in Thrapston is run by Freedom Leisure on behalf of the council.
The Nene Centre in Thrapston is run by Freedom Leisure on behalf of the council.

East Northamptonshire Council has agreed to spend more than £200,000 bailing out the company that runs its leisure centres.

The authority has agreed financial support to Freedom Leisure, which manages the Pemberton Leisure and Conference Centre and The Splash Centre in Rushden plus the The Nene Centre in Thrapston.

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Freedom Leisure runs the centres for the council on a ten year contract and as part of the rescue package the local authority has agreed to waive the monthly management fee of £12,083, to give the company £44,487 a month to cover business costs and to also pay £4,911 per month for staffing costs.

The funds, which add up to £205,924 will be backdated from March 20 for the four months to July and at the full council meeting next Monday (July 20) the authority will decide whether to continue the funding into the future.

The money is coming from the £993,413 the council received from Government to help cover coronavirus impact costs.

A council spokesman said: “The council has been in ongoing discussions with Freedom Leisure to understand the impact on their business, following the forced closure of leisure centres due to the pandemic and has been working with them to agree financial support to enable the council’s leisure centres to reopen on 25 July or as soon as possible thereafter.”

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Leisure centres across the country have been hit hard by the lockdown, with people banned from using swimming pools and gyms for fear of spreading the virus.

Freedom Leisure, which is a not-for-profit organisation based in East Sussex runs 90 leisure facilities across the country and has already received a bailout from Fenland District Council for which it runs four leisure centres.

Freedom Leisure has been contacted for comment.

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