#saveleisure was a digital campaign run by CL-UK, ukactive, CIMSPA and supported by Swim England, Swim Wales and other partners, over the course of summer 2020, urging the UK Government to commit relief funding to enable the full reopening and recovery of the public leisure sector accounting for the catastrophic impact of Covid-19.
Almost half of all public leisure facilities (48 per cent) were at risk of permanent closure by the end of the year without financial support from the government.
Leisure centres, swimming pools and community services play a vital role in society. Latest figures from 4global via Data Hub research indicated that public leisure provision contributes £3.8bn in social value to the UK (England, Scotland and Wales) every year, measured through savings to the NHS as well as improved mental and physical health.
There are more than 2,800 public leisure facilities across the UK providing accessible and affordable facilities and services for all members of society, serving children and adults, schools and community groups, older people and faith groups. Many of these are listed on CommunityActive.org
Working in partnership with GPs and other health professionals, they support people living with long-term health conditions and those with physical and mental health issues via specialist physical activity referral schemes and social prescribing services.
They teach our children to swim, and they offer a safe space for communities to connect in an increasingly isolated society.
Public leisure providers faced a shortfall of around £800m this financial year (2020–21). Up to 35 percent of leisure facilities will not be able to reopen (from 25 July in England) due to the combination of exceptional increased costs resulting from lost income during lockdown and the need to operate at reduced capacity to comply with social distancing measures.
This is why Community Leisure UK, ukactive and CIMSPA are calling for ring-fenced funding to overcome the enormous financial impact of the Covid-19 lockdown period and its legacy.
Without this funding, we estimated that 48 per cent of all public leisure facilities face closure, meaning the loss of 1,300 centres by the end of the year, along with more than 58,000 jobs.