Seamless transition as Wadebridge Leisure Centre officially taken over by local community interest company

Wadebridge Leisure Centre community interest company, FOWLC, officially takes over the running of Wadebridge Leisure Centre from today (September 1, 2022). 

New Wadebridge Leisure Centre sign

FOWLC is taking over the leisure centre from previous operator GLL, and they have been working together since July to ensure a smooth transition with leisure centre staff busy ensuring normal service for residents continued throughout the handover period. 

“We have been bowled over by local support.” said Emma Tudge, Business Strategist for FOWLC. “We are nothing without our community and the Board is incredibly grateful for the many donations received so far to help cover new capital outlay, along with sponsorship support and kind offers of help plus the many words of encouragement from the wider community.” 

“Rapidly rising energy costs are an issue for all of us and FOWLC has been forced to rethink its budgets, timescales and business plans. We’re planning to launch a Crowdfunding campaign to raise £1m for the vital capital investment needed to transform the swimming pool and sports centre into a sustainable energy-efficient community-focused hub for all ages and abilities. We aim to future-proof the centre, preserving it for generations to come and our plans could become the blueprint for other centres facing similar challenges. 

“This is an exciting time with a new website and booking app in development, new fitness classes and swimming lessons added to the existing timetable, and an official opening event planned for 17 September where there will be taster events on offer.” 

FOWLC stepped in to take over the running of Wadebridge Leisure Centre after the Council committed to working with community groups and organisations to find a financially sustainable way to keep it open.   

Local groups and organisations were invited to come forward and initial expressions of interest were evaluated for viability and progressed to a business case and final agreement.  

“We are especially grateful to the Wadebridge Centre staff who have been ensuring that normal service continues, despite almost 12 months of uncertainty, and are delighted to report that they have chosen to transition across with us and are feeling much more optimistic about the future.” adds Scott Tudge, FOWLC’s new Chief Operating Officer. “We are already supporting new qualifications for existing team members, along with an application for an apprenticeship by a new recruit.” 

Cllr Richard Pears, portfolio holder for customers added: “It’s encouraging to see that after the work put in by all parties to find a way forward, Wadebridge Leisure Centre is now operating under the auspices of the FOWLC Community Interest Company.”   

James Curry, Head of Service for previous operator GLL said: “I am delighted with how the transfer of services from BETTER to FOWLC has progressed. Clearly the last year has been very challenging for everyone involved with Wadebridge Leisure Centre.  However, a special mention needs to go to the staff team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure normal service has been maintained, their ongoing commitment to GLL, the Centre and the community has ensured business continuity and a strong recovery from Covid over this time, this will give the new operator a good platform to build on.  

“On behalf of ‘BETTER’ I would like to thank our staff and customers for their loyal support over the last five years and I wish Emma, Scott and the wider Director team the very best with the Centre and hope all their hard work and efforts are rewarded in the coming months and years.” 

Story posted 1 September 2022 

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