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27th Jun, 2022

Community activities scrapped in new leisure delivery plan for Stratford

A NUMBER of community activities will be scrapped as Stratford District Council renews its contract with Sports and Leisures Management (SLM).

The council’s ruling cabinet approved its new ‘Active Communities Strategy Delivery Plan’ which will see much of the district’s sports provision handed to the contractor to relieve pressure on cost and risk to the local authority.

Among activities no longer provided are the Hi-5 holiday activity programme, health walks and sports tournaments.

But the authority assured that staff would be aiming to encourage activity and sport among age groups spanning from tots to those over 50.

One of the key elements of SLM’s proposal is the use of the council-owned sports pavilion on Stratford’s Recreation Ground as an ‘outreach hub’ to deliver activity programmes, including to more rural and less active parts of the district.

District council spokesman for leisure Coun Matt Jennings said: “At the end of 2018, the Cabinet endorsed the Active Communities Strategy for 2019 to 2024 including the delivery plan for the first 12 months.This has now expired and the next stage of delivery needed to be considered.

“Since 2019, the provision of Active Communities’ Services has moved on and has been greatly impacted by Covid-19. The provision of sport and physical activity is a discretionary service not a statutory service and it was always the intention to work with others to deliver activities to make them more sustainable in the long term and less reliant on the council’s limited resources.

“Although we will no longer be providing a number of traditional services previously provided, there won’t be a gap in provision as SLM will be providing a number of other activities more suited to today’s society and needs.

“SLM’s service delivery proposals as part of the new leisure contract ensures that there is still a strong focus on delivering the key themes of the strategy but removing much of the cost and risk for these activities from the council.”

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