County Council and Catmose College issue joint statement on community access

Rutland County Council and Catmose College have issued a joint statement about community access to facilities at Catmose Sports Centre.

A sign at the entrance to Catmose Campus in Oakham
A sign at the entrance to Catmose Campus in Oakham

Rutland County Council and Catmose College have issued a joint statement about the progress of planned discussions aimed at maintaining community access for clubs and groups that use Catmose Sports Centre.

The statement reads as follows:

“Rutland County Council and Catmose College are taking forward joint proposals that will – if approved by both organisations – allow many local community groups and sports clubs to keep using facilities at the college site after the closure of Catmose Sports Centre.

“The Council is intending to use one-off funding allocated for sport, leisure and recreation to enable Catmose College to sustain community access beyond March 2023. Importantly, this would not impact on the Council’s revenue budget or increase financial pressure on the authority.

“The College is looking carefully at what is needed to administer community access after 31 March, which would then allow the Council to finalise its support package. Further details will follow in due course.”

Rutland County Council and Catmose College

If approved, community access would not extend to supporting a commercial gym offer at the Catmose College site. However, it is hoped that private gym users will be able to make use of other local fitness venues – supporting independent operators in the local area.

The Council has also taken enquiries from some clubs and groups expressing an interest in using fitness studio space at Oakham Enterprise Park’s Active Rutland Hub and is assessing their requirements.

Rutland County Council’s Cabinet will continue with a public meeting planned for 7pm on Monday 6 February. This meeting is now fully booked and all those with a place have been notified.

The meeting will also be streamed live online and a link to watch will be posted on our Catmose Sports Centre page.

The Council is working to make more information about Cabinet’s decision available online ahead of this meeting and is keen to address concerns about the availability of childcare during school holidays, the future of Rutland’s GP exercise referral scheme and people’s overall health and well-being.

Details of numerous childcare providers operating in Rutland can be found on the Rutland Information Service (RIS) website. This includes school holiday camps in Oakham, which run on weekdays throughout the easter, summer and half term holidays and cater for children aged 8 to 15.

Rutland County Council will also be continuing with its regular Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme for families with children who receive free school meals.

GP exercise referrals that are currently being delivered at Catmose Sports Centre will transfer across to Active Rutland from April 2023, meaning there will be no disruption to this service. The Council also continues to work with local health and care organisations to implement Rutland’s new Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2022-27, supported by its public health spending.

“Cabinet had to make a very hard decision on whether we – as a local authority – could afford to take on the risks associated with subsidising a commercial leisure centre in the current financial climate. We decided it was not an option. However, we understood the impact this would have on community clubs and were confident that our relationship with Catmose College would allow us to find a solution before current arrangements end.

"Both the Council and College want clubs and groups to be able to use the facilities after March. The College is looking carefully at what it needs to make this happen, which will then allow the Council to finalise support. Beyond this, we feel strongly that Rutland’s wider sport, leisure and recreation offer can meet the long-term needs of other Catmose Sports Centre users.”

Councillor Lucy Stephenson, Leader of Rutland County Council

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