£100 million has now been allocated to 266 local authorities across England
The Government announced on 20 March 2021, that it has allocated £100 million 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.”
As announced in the Prime Minister’s roadmap, leisure centres and gyms will be part of the Step Two reopening. They will be permitted to re-open their doors to the public no earlier than 12 April for individual socially distanced use, with this £100 million providing a capital injection to help with restarting.
As part of Step Three, indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will be permitted to resume from no earlier than 17 May.
A spokesperson for Central Bedfordshire Council said:
“We are pleased to confirm that we have been successful in our application for the National Leisure Recovery Fund and have been awarded £651K.”
Bedford Borough Council had not responded at the time of publication. Neither Sport England or the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport would confirm the funding allocated to Bedford Borough.