Posted: Sat 16th Apr 2016

Funding Bid To Sustain Cefn Hengoed Leisure Centre /
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Apr 16th, 2016

Funds are being sought to keep Cefn Hengoed leisure centre open to the community, while continuing to explore different ways of running the facility in future. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Due to unprecedented pressure on finances, all community leisure and cultural services directly provided by Swansea Council are under review to explore how they can be made more efficient, generate more use and income, or be run by a third party. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

School-based leisure facilities, which open to the public out of school hours, are also part of this strategy. They could face reduced access to the public if solutions and new partnerships can’t be found. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In the meantime, an action plan involving use of the Council’s Transformation Fund is being put forward to keep Cefn Hengoed leisure centre open to the public as usual, until future options are better understood. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Council has recently undertaken a market exercise to gauge interest and potential for new partnerships for a number of its services. The authority’s cultural services team will now continue to work with colleagues in the third sector, schools and local clubs and organisations to develop sustainable and inclusive options over the course of the next year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

These options include schools taking on facilities located in their premises and developing a new way of working with the sports and leisure team to generate greater usage and community benefits. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At Cefn Hengoed, this could lead to improved facilities on site, including a 3G all-weather pitch. Discussions with the school are also on-going about the standard of the gym equipment there. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A Swansea Council spokesperson said: “Sports, leisure and cultural services are an essential part of community life and wellbeing in Swansea. We are determined to work hard with colleagues, customers and partners to ensure these services remain for the benefit of all the community, but with nearly £80m of savings to be made across the Council, this means we have to work differently and generate new business and partnerships to keep them growing. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Cefn Hengoed leisure centre is one of the least used, in comparison to our other centres, many of which have state-of-the-art equipment and sports facilities. But in line with our sport and wellbeing strategies, we’re looking to sustain leisure activity there and encourage sport and exercise in a way that could lead to changes, modernisation or improvements on site. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We hope we can ensure the centre’s future by working with the local community, school and clubs, with assistance from the council’s Transformation Fund, which has been put in place to assist the transformation of Council services to realise actual savings. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“With the help of our valued staff, partners and customers, we hope to identify a business model that works for everyone. Any recommendations that may develop over the next year will also be subject to Cabinet approval and consultation with users and other interested groups.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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