Cheltenham Borough Council and The Cheltenham Trust welcome lifeline grant from Sport England’s National Leisure Recovery Fund

Published on 9th March 2021

Picture of a swimming pool at Leisure at Cheltenham

Cheltenham Borough Council has been awarded £220,000 as part of Sport England’s National Leisure Recovery Fund to support the recovery of Leisure at Cheltenham and the Prince of Wales stadium.

The venues are owned by the borough council and managed and run by The Cheltenham Trust, an independent, not for profit charity. Both venues closed in March 2020 in response to the government’s national lockdown and although they partially opened later that year with significantly reduced user capacity, they are currently closed due to the current lockdown restrictions.

The money will help mitigate the impact of the significant loss of revenue, of around £2.1m, since the leisure centre and stadium closed in March whilst also helping to support the re-opening of both venues. The government’s roadmap allows indoor services at Leisure at Cheltenham (gym and pool only) to reopen for individual use from 12 April, and organised indoor adult sport and group exercise classes from 17 May, subject to the government’s review conditions being met.

Cllr Flo Clucas, cabinet member healthy lifestyles, said: “Cheltenham Borough Council welcomes this important grant from Sport England which will help Leisure at Cheltenham and the Prince of Wales stadium to begin to recover and rebuild from the significant impact of the pandemic.

“Covid19 has demonstrated more than ever how important a healthy and active lifestyle is for us all and how vital the sporting and leisure facilities provided by Leisure at Cheltenham and the Prince of Wales stadium are and will continue to be as we come out of the pandemic.”

Louis Eperjesi, chairman of the board of trustees of The Cheltenham Trust, said: “The Cheltenham Trust is delighted that Cheltenham Borough Council’s bid for funding from Sport England’s National Leisure Recovery Fund has been successful. The last year has been incredibly difficult for the charity. We have been pro-active in responding as Covid19 restrictions have been changed or lifted to bring leisure and sporting activities and facilities back to the community as quickly as we can, in line with the government guidance at the time.

“Sport and leisure will continue to play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of the community and we are looking forward to when we can begin to re-open Leisure at Cheltenham and the Prince of Wales stadium, hopefully from 12 April if the government’s review conditions have been met nationally.

“We have been working in close partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council, our lead partner, to do everything possible to safeguard the future of these vital leisure and sporting venues which contribute so much to the cultural landscape of Cheltenham and to ensure future sustainability of The Cheltenham Trust.”

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The National Leisure Recovery Fund will help to drive the sustainability of leisure facilities nationwide by enabling Sport England to assess and monitor the recovery of sports and leisure facilities which create £6.4 billion of social value.