70% of all public leisure facilities owned by local authorities, are at risk of closures that will ultimately fall back onto taxpayers due to councils owning facilities that cannot be used.

UKactive, a not for profit organisation, showed a figure of 67% which estimates that all public leisure providers are at risk of full closure within the next 9-12 months if they do not receive any support from the government.

Tracy Brabin, Batley and Spen MP, and Shadow Minister for Cultural Industries, visited Batley sports and tennis centre to see how the facility is managing in a COVID secure way, and to listen to the concerns of Leisure operators who are worried that the sector might fail without support from the government.

Brabin met up with the Alasdair Brown, Chief Executive of Kirklees Active Leisure Trust (KAL), and Gillian Oakland Operations Manager, to see how the facilities are coping with the restrictions that are in place and to see what support Batley and Spen need.

Tracy Brabin MP with Alasdair Brown and Gillian Brown at the Batley sports and tennis centre

KAL have worked with Kirklees council to receive an extra £4m to help make their existing facilities COVID secure.

Low income families are more at risk of being impacted by the Coronavirus and want to combine new offers and incentives to make sure that their facilities are accessible for all, despite income. KAL are working hard to offer health and well being to all.

After the visit, Brabin said “It was really heart-warming to see people getting back to their routines, being active and using our wonderful facilities here in Birstall.”

“The team here from KAL have done an amazing job making sure that people can come in and work out whilst being secure knowing that the team are working hard to keep them safe.”

She said it is so vital that people can come to exercise and socialise, and in the current crisis, health and wellbeing are more important than ever.

Brabin said that it is vital that the government listen to the industry and ensure that they are supporting the leisure industry before it collapses and places even more strain on our local authorities.