A new charity trust established to manage the West Norfolk’s leisure facilities will go live on Monday.
Alive Leisure is poised to take over the running of Lynnsport, Downham Market Leisure Centre, the Oasis in Hunstanton, St James Pool and King’s Lynn Corn Exchange from the borough council.
The trust, chaired by businessman Peter Lemon, will promote the leisure services on offer in the area and manage major events such as the Village Games.
It will be responsible for West Norfolk’s sports development programme, taking sport out into the community and encouraging residents to get fit and healthy.
David Pope, cabinet member for ICT, leisure and public space at the council, said: “We took the decision to create a leisure trust last year and a lot of work has gone in to making this a reality.
“We have an excellent board of trustees in place, which I know will continue to develop the excellent sports facilities that the borough council has been providing for many years.
“Around a third of leisure facilities in the country are run via a trust as this means that the amount of business rates and VAT that are payable are dramatically reduced.
By transferring the management of these facilities to the trust, the council will realise savings in the region of £500,000 per annum, which goes a long way to helping the council balance its books whilst ensuring that leisure facilities are preserved for the future.
“It is a massive change to the way things are managed internally, but initially people will not notice a difference when they visit their local leisure centre or the Corn Exchange.
“In the longer-term, the trust will of course have plans and ideas about how they wish to further develop the facilities available, which has to be great news for residents of the borough.”
Mr Lemon added: “On behalf of myself and the board, I would like to thank the borough council for all its assistance with the setting up of the Trust.
“We are looking forward to working with the hard-working and dedicated staff to continue to provide excellent sports and leisure services in West Norfolk.”
Further information about Alive Leisure and the new trust is available at: www.aliveleisure.co.uk