New era for Cheltenham's leisure and culture services

Published on 11th September 2014

Quad of images depicting leisure and culture in Cheltenham

A significant point has been reached in establishing a trust to manage Cheltenham’s leisure and culture services.

At a meeting next Tuesday (16 September) cabinet will be asked to agree the awarding of the contract to The Cheltenham Trust from 1 October 2014. The decision will be subject to The Charity Commission approving the trust as a charitable body by that date.

The decision would mean The Cheltenham Trust would oversee the management, operation and development of some of Cheltenham’s most iconic cultural venues. These include Cheltenham Town Hall, The Wilson and Pittville Pump Room. The trust will also be responsible for running leisure-at Cheltenham, the Prince of Wales Stadium, our tourism services and the Tourist Information Centre, as well as our ‘Sport, Play and Healthy Lifestyles’ outreach service.

The trust will be working closely in partnership with the council but it will be run independently by a board of trustees.  The trustees – two of whom are councillors - bring with them a range of skill sets and will be chaired by Joanna Stringer.

The creation of the trust will result in net savings to the council of £125,000 in 2014/15 rising to £833,000 by 2018/19.  As a trust, it will also look to generate additional income through fundraising, as well as commercial activities through its trading subsidiary. The trust will also ensure that the services continue to make a vital contribution to the town, both to the everyday life of its residents and as a destination that inspires and excites visitors.

Councillor Rowena Hay, cabinet member for healthy lifestyles, said: “It’s taken two years and a lot of hard work but I’m delighted to be at the point where we are seeing The Cheltenham Trust taking on the management and development of our leisure and culture services.

‘’I am confident that the board members and staff will bring a huge range of skills and expertise that will drive the trust forward and will help promote Cheltenham as a town rich with leisure and culture services and attractions.”

Joanna Stringer, chair of the trust, added:  “We are honoured to be trusted with this considerable responsibility and look forward to working with all those in Cheltenham to develop these services over the next decade. We would also like to extend our thanks to all those involved in the project at the borough council, particularly Pat Pratley, Ken Dale and Rowena Hay who have gone above and beyond in the spirit of creating a better future for Cheltenham.”

The contract is for ten years, with a review at five years, with potential for the council to extend the contract by a further five years. Staff currently working in these areas will transfer under TUPE to The Cheltenham Trust.

In the event of The Cheltenham Trust not being registered as a charity before 1 October 2014 the cabinet will be asked to delegate authority to the council’s deputy chief executive in consultation with the cabinet member to complete the transfer by 1 November. If services are not transferred by that date a further report will be brought to cabinet on 11 November.

Read the full cabinet report.


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The trust will be completely independent of the council and run by a board of 12 trustees, two of whom will be councillors. It will manage:

• leisure-at-cheltenham
• Prince of Wales Stadium
• Sport, play and healthy lifestyles
• The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum (including tourism and the Tourist Information Centre)
• Town Hall
• Pittville Pump Room

Whilst the services will be delivered by the trust, the buildings and museum collections will remain in the ownership of the council.

The board of trustees are as follows:
Joanna Stringer – chair,
Martin Horwood,
Ian Renton,
Stephen Marsdon,
Judith Hodsdon,
Peter Harkness,
Laura Brooks,
Sarah Parker,
Jacqui Grange,
David Sheldermine,
Cllr Duncan Smith and
Cllr Colin Hay.