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Council helps key city leisure partners through pandemic

Swansea Council is set to offer new support to help key partner organisations through the coronavirus crisis.

LC8720

The backing will help ensure that much-loved city facilities such as the LC, community leisure centres and Plantasia are in a position to open as effectively as possible once it is safe to do so. 

All are managed on the behalf of the council and Swansea people by two organisations that, like many around the UK, face significant challenges due to the pandemic. 

The LC and leisure centres are run by not-for-profit trust Freedom Leisure. Plantasia is run by specialist business Parkwood Leisure.

All these Swansea facilities have been temporarily closed under government restrictions that came in on March 20. 

Robert Francis-Davies, the council's cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "Plantasia, the LC and our leisure centres help create an active and healthy city and are also important tourist facilities as part of Swansea's offer as a visitor destination.  

"It's crucial to the wellbeing of our residents that such facilities - and our partners who run them on our behalf - are allowed to look forward with confidence and that we can support them in hard times such as this. 

"These facilities will also be important to our communities and visitors as we come out of the pandemic." 

The council, which continues to hold regular online meetings with the operators, has supported the operators financially in recent months. This has been carried out in line with advice and guidance from the Welsh Local Government Association. 

Measures have included the continuing payment of management fees that ensure that routine building maintenance and utility costs are covered. 

The cabinet is now set to consider how such assistance can follow on through further temporary closure. 

The cabinet, which is due to meet on July 16, is being advised to agree to:

  • continuing the financial support for the two organisations which would total around £800,000 for April-July
  • further continue the support if the facilities remain closed after July
  • approve and cover the possible £1m cost of Freedom Leisure's phased five-month reopening plan for its Swansea venues. This would involve minimal temporary closures and a pricing strategy that reflects temporary closure, partial reopenings and post-pandemic changes to operations
  • approve and cover the possible £100,000 cost of Parkwood Leisure's six-month reopening plan for Plantasia which would involve staggered entry times, cashless transactions where possible and a review of timetabling to ensure that the safety of staff and visitors remains a priority.

Photo The LC.

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