A North East leisure charity is set to grow within the region after becoming a subsidiary of a UK leader within its sector.
North Country Leisure (NCL) has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of GLL, heralded as the UK’s biggest and most successful leisure charitable social enterprise.
The move is set to drive improvements across NCL’s portfolio of 12 leisure and sporting facilities across Newcastle and Cumbria, which include Eldon Leisure, Gosforth Pool and Outer West Pool.
Established in 1998, NCL manages leisure centres and services on behalf of local councils in Cumbria including Copeland Borough Council, Eden District Council and South Lakeland District Council, workingclosely with the local community to develop its services.
In Newcastle, the Hexham-headquartered company was chosen to manage the city’s leisure offering in July 2014, following a competitive process to take on the buildings.
Meanwhile, GLL - Greenwich Leisure Limited – formed in the 1990s and since grown to operate more than 150 leisure centres across the UK, striving to make top class sporting facilities available to all at affordable prices.
As a non-profit company that reinvests any financial surplus back into the service, GLL is now geared to help NCL, itself a leisure charity, to improve its already strong services to existing customers and stakeholders across the region.
The firm said growth opportunities have presented themselves in the North East, and that a number of leisure contracts are being tendered.
GLL also has expertise and experience in managing wider cultural services such as libraries, children’s centres and sports development, providing councils a joined-up service solution at a time of financial pressure.
It is anticipated that NCL will become part of the GLL group from April 1 and the NCL local Board structure, which connects the local service with its communities, would remain in place working closely with the GLL Board.
Chris Roberts, chair of North Country Leisure, said: “We are delighted that NCL will be joining GLL as a partner, during a period where there are a number of significant opportunities to develop and improve the service.
“The decision by the NCL board to become part of GLL will preserve and enhance the strengths on which NCL has built its reputation, and gain advantages for both clients, customers and staff within a larger GLL group structure.”
Mark Sesnan, managing director of GLL, said: “We are very pleased that North Country Leisure has joined the GLL family, where we both share the same core values, to increase physical activity, reduce health inequalities and improve social inclusion.
“This is a great opportunity for NCL, with its regional networks, locally skilled staff and operational strength, to team up with the UK’s largest and most successful leisure charitable social enterprise, further strengthening and developing its services, retaining local jobs for local people – all whilst benefitting from the knowledge, experience and economies of scale of GLL.”