BREAKING NEWS: Freedom Leisure loses contract to run Mid Sussex leisure centres

Staff at The Dolphin leisure centre in Haywards Heath will be transferred to DC Leisure from July 1, 2014

Staff at The Dolphin leisure centre in Haywards Heath will be transferred to DC Leisure from July 1, 2014

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Mid Sussex District Council has awarded a 15 year contract to manage the council’s leisure centres and civic halls to DC Leisure.

It means the local authority will part company with Freedom Leisure which has had the contract to run The Dolphin and The Triangle leisure centres in Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill, as well as The Kings centre in East Grinstead.The new contract starts on July 1 2014, at which point the staff currently employed at the centres will transfer over to DC Leisure. 
Voted ‘Leisure Centre Operator of the Year’ at the UK Active Flame Awards in 2013, DC Leisure is a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in the management of leisure facilities.

DC Leisure has extensive experience of operating leisure centres on behalf of councils and currently manages over 95 facilities around the country, working with 29 local authorities.

Mid Sussex District Council states the new contract will see immediate improvements to the leisure centres, with extensions to the gyms at all three sites and new equipment being installed.

New café areas will be created and, to encourage young people to participate in sport, swimming will be free for children under eight years old and 16 to 24 year olds will be able to swim for £1.

“We had a great deal of interest in our leisure management contract and this competition meant the bids we received were all of a very high standard,” said Councillor Pru Moore, Mid Sussex District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Sustainability.

“DC Leisure’s bid represents excellent value for money and clearly shows their commitment to providing improved, sustainable, high quality leisure services for the Mid Sussex community. By agreeing a long-term contract we have secured on-going investment in our leisure centres that will put them in a strong position to develop and improve over the next 15 years.

“We had an excellent working relationship with Freedom Leisure, who has managed the facilities since 2009, and I look forward to developing a similar connection with DC Leisure. I would like to thank Freedom for all the work they have done over the last five years and for all the support they have provided for our local community projects.”

Robin Knight, DC Leisure’s Business Development Manager said: “We are delighted and proud to have been selected as the Council’s leisure partner for the next 15 years. We will be introducing exciting activities and programmes as well as investing over £1.7m into the facilities. We look forward to working with the Council and Freedom Leisure to achieve a seamless transfer of the facilities, so that we can continue to provide a successful leisure service to the citizens of Mid Sussex.”

The new leisure management contract was formally awarded by Mid Sussex District Council on Wednesday February 26.

All bidders were then notified of the Council’s decision and, following a 10-day standstill period, the identity of the winning bidder was announced today (Tuesday March 11).

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