How Trusts help improve people’s lives and wellbeing

With a growing emphasis to stay healthy to fight against COVID-19 it will undoubtedly spark ambition to improve wellbeing for many people across the country. Yet, for some people within our communities, there are seemingly insurmountable barriers to even thinking of health improvement or taking part in a new activity. Health inequalities, stemming from a range of factors, impact people from every background across the country. Community Leisure UK (CLUK), the organisation that represents a significant number of Leisure & Culture Trusts across the UK, prides itself on providing demonstrable social value and impact nationally through its members. Here is how they do it:

Reinvestment in the local community

What makes Trusts different in the way they operate local facilities is that they are not-for-profit organisations that reinvest income back into the local community. The charitable purpose and community focus of Trusts’ work makes them valuable contributors to creating more inclusive places to live, work, and visit.

Provides quality activities and facilities

Trusts’ value providing quality leisure, sports and cultural activities for their communities while also supporting their local authorities in making their towns and cities attractive places to visit. They also manage and promote community assets, such as velodromes, waterparks, and town halls, and take care of parks and recreational areas like golf courses and nature reserves which attract locals and visitors alike.

Accessibility to everyone

Facilities and services are adapted to be accessible to everyone in their community. They respond to demographic and societal changes and participate in national (health and wellbeing) programmes, such as exercise referral and social prescribing. Trusts also support national priorities like reducing social exclusion, loneliness, and supporting people with long-term conditions.

Creates employment

Trusts are important employers and contribute significantly to the skills development of their communities. CLUK member Trusts collectively employ over 89,000 people and are supported by over 14,500 volunteers. Trusts are, rightly so, proud to develop local people’s skills and provide an attractive place to work right across the country.

Offers safe and welcoming spaces

Charitable leisure and culture Trusts continually strive to offer a safe and welcoming space, with a range of activities and professional advice on hand. As community anchors, regardless of their location or size, Trusts share a common goal of being accessible to everyone and providing opportunities to encourage active involvement, whatever their circumstances.

Contributes to improving the nation’s health

Leisure Trusts’ services and activities help to reduce social isolation and loneliness in communities, reduce childhood obesity, improve mental health and wellbeing, and support promoting healthier eating. Through their incredible work, leisure Trusts are contributing to supporting and improving the nation’s health through a wide and varied range of targeted initiatives.

Developing art and cultural programmes

Trusts contribute to improving communities’ wellbeing by having accessible cultural activities, offering valuable social interaction and a safe place for a cuppa. They also undertake specific arts and cultural programmes that target people’s health and wellbeing. Being present in a cultural environment can make you feel more relaxed and reduce anxiety, as well as increase confidence. In a positive sense it supports personal development, stimulating memory, and improving quality of life and sense of community by bringing people together.

Offering diverse, mindful and inclusive activities

What all Trusts have in common is that they want their cultural activities to be diverse, mindful and inclusive of their communities. By having something on offer for everyone, they seek to remove barriers for people to participate and make the arts and culture, with all their positive effects, accessible to everyone.