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Council agrees financial support package for sports centre

Date Published: 18 September 2020

Rutland County Council has agreed a package of financial support worth up to £269k over two years to help maintain sport and leisure provision at Catmose Sports Centre in Oakham.

The facilities, which are operated by Stevenage Leisure Ltd (SLL) under a contract with Rutland County Council, have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) since the start of the pandemic. This has been a national trend affecting fitness and leisure facilities throughout the UK

In order to restrict the potential spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk members of the public, the government instructed all gyms and leisure centres to close in March.

SLL have not been eligible for business rate relief or emergency support grants, which have helped to sustain many other businesses during lockdown. Meanwhile, the company has continued to pay for the basic maintenance of the Catmose Sports facility, and has been liable for utilities and other property costs.

The loss of income caused by COVID-19, together with ongoing running costs, has seriously threatened the viability of sport and leisure provisions at Catmose Sports Center, prompting Rutland County Council’s Cabinet to agree additional funding of up to £269,021 (maximum £168,191 in 2020/21 and £100,830 in 2021/22) so that the facility can remain open for Rutland residents.

“The Catmose Sports facility is an important asset for the local community, being that it’s the only pay-and-play facility in the County where people can access sport and active recreation without paying regular membership fees. The Uppingham School Sports Centre, which has a limited element of public access, is not planning to reopen to the public until 2021 at the earliest. Catmose Sports Centre is also home to a number of clubs and groups, and a hub for GP Exercise Referrals – organising and assessing individuals The loss of this facility would have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the County’s residents at the worst possible time. It is therefore important that we provide the necessary financial assistance to safeguard the Centre’s future.”
Councillor Lucy Stephenson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure

Some activities at the Centre, including public swimming sessions, have been suspended because of the pandemic and the additional cost of operating with significant COVID-19 safety measures in place. 

Having agreed a package of financial support with SLL, Rutland County Council will now work with Catmose Sports Centre to plan for the reintroduction of more services and sessions, ensuring that restarting any further service is cost neutral.

The full agenda and reports for Rutland County Council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 15 September can be read on our Meetings page

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