Cash support for three leisure centres in the Harborough district

The money will go towards the centres in Market Harborough, Lutterworth and Broughton Astley, which have been hit hard by the Covid lockdowns over the last year

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 5:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 5:20 pm
Lutterworth Sports Centre.

Harborough council is being handed £160,000 by the Government to help support three sports centres in the district.

The cash boost will go towards supporting Harborough Leisure Centre and Lutterworth Sports Centre - which have been hit hard by the Covid lockdowns over the last year.

The money will also benefit Broughton Astley’s new leisure centre, the council said.

“It follows additional investment agreed by Harborough District Council to leisure operator Everyone Active, in July 2020, to allow Harborough Leisure Centre and Lutterworth Sports Centre to reopen following the first coronavirus lockdown,” said the council.

“The national lockdowns have placed many leisure centres across the country under pressure as income streams effectively ceased, whilst ongoing maintenance costs continued.”

The Government is pumping £100 million into 266 local authorities across England to supercharge the recovery of publicly-owned leisure centres and gyms.

“The National Leisure Recovery Fund, funded by the Government and managed by Sport England, aims to provide a solid platform for the leisure sector to successfully reopen,” said the council.

The Government has said that outdoor sports and leisure facilities – alongside organised outdoor sport - can begin again from Monday March 29.

And indoor leisure facilities and gyms will be able to reopen, with strict operational measures in place, from Monday April 12.

Cllr Simon Whelband, Harborough council’s Cabinet lead for wellbeing and communities, said: “The national lockdowns have had a huge impact on the leisure sector and created a significant financial challenges - so this funding is very welcome.

“It is important residents are able to improve their physical and mental health, through exercise and physical activity.

“We will be working closely with our leisure centres to ensure this funding supports their recovery and increases opportunities for residents.”

Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads the council’s Liberal Democrat group, said: ''Additional external funding will be welcomed and will hopefully be able to make a significant contribution.

“There is a rising tide of concern for example as to the long-term impacts on mental health by Covid-19, lockdowns, job uncertainty and so much more.

“Our leisure centres have a major part to play in rebuilding the confidence and well-being of the community as we gradually return to normal.''

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England chief executive, said: “Leisure facilities have a vital role to play in supporting the health of the nation and in serving our more disadvantaged communities.

“They have been hit especially hard over the past year.

“So this investment is crucial and will help thousands to reopen when it becomes possible to do so – supporting the recovery and helping people get back to the activity they have badly missed.”

Harborough Leisure Centre and Lutterworth Sports Centre are owned by Harborough council and managed by sports and leisure operator Everyone Active.