Up to £100m in funding to help UK to ‘build back fitter’

swimming pool

The Government has announced that £100m has now been allocated to 266 local authorities across England, to support the recovery of publicly-owned leisure centres and gyms.

The National Leisure Recovery Fund, which opened in December 2020, was established to provide a solid funding platform for the leisure sector to successfully reopen. It has been funded by the Government and managed by Sport England.

Allocations will mean that publicly-owned leisure centres and gyms can begin preparations for reopening as part of Step Two of the Prime Minister’s roadmap, secured by financial backing from the Government. The lifting of restrictions will be subject to approval.

It follows the Prime Minister’s ambition to ‘building back fitter’ from the coronavirus pandemic, underlined by the multi-billion pound support for the sport and leisure sectors over the past year.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “We know that Local Authorities have faced significant financial pressure as a result of the pandemic so this £100 million for leisure will be vital in helping them recover. Communities across England rely on their local leisure centre or gym to help them keep fit and healthy and this funding will assist those public facilities to make ends meet.”

Industry reaction

Sport England Chief Executive Tim Hollingsworth said: “Leisure facilities have a vital role to play in supporting the health of the nation and in particular 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.

“Sport England has worked at pace to enable the distribution of the investment to happen as quickly as possible and remains committed to doing what we can to continue to support this crucial part of our sector.”

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