New trust to run leisure facilities from next year

W03094H14-Splashpoint'''Splashpoint Leisure Centre    swimming pool    fitness  Brighton Road   Worthing ENGSUS00120140115174439
W03094H14-Splashpoint'''Splashpoint Leisure Centre swimming pool fitness Brighton Road Worthing ENGSUS00120140115174439

A NEWLY formed trust is to take over the running of Worthing Borough Council’s leisure facilities.

Worthing Leisure Centre, Davison Leisure Centre, the Splashponit Leisure Centre and Field Place are currently run by the council’s in-house Worthing Leisure team.

But from April 1, they will be operated by the trust South Downs Leisure, created by the Worthing Leisure team.

It is hoped the move will enable the council to make savings of more than £1million in the next five years, enjoy significant tax benefits and access new sources of funding, such as lottery grants.

Councillor Clive Roberts, cabinet member for environment, said: “The trust will be responsible for the management and operation of the council’s leisure facilities. Working in partnership, it will assist the council to achieve its vision for leisure in the area.”

Over the last 12 months, Worthing Leisure has outperformed its targets. Expected to make a loss of £304,000 in the 2013/14 financial year, it made a profit of over £18,000, with an ambitious target of £86,000 profit budgeted for 2014/15. The finer details of the trust agreement are yet to 
be agreed.

Under any agreement, the council would not lose ownership of the buildings, while future surpluses could be shared between the trust and the council.

In order to ensure the smooth running of the trust, 12 trustees will be appointed.

Potential applicants are invited to attend a meeting on Monday, October 6, at Field Place, Worthing, from 6pm. It will be a chance to learn more about the role and talk about the plans.

Council leader Paul Yallop said applications would be invited from those with specialist skills, including finance and marketing. He said: “This is a hugely exciting initiative.

“However, it is recognised that it will also be a challenge and we are looking for potential trustees with the knowledge and expertise to support the existing management team.”