Staff jobs are safe says leisure boss

The Health Hydro, in Swindon

The Health Hydro, in Swindon

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @Michael_Benke

THE company which is set to take over the town’s leisure facilities has reassured current staff it is not looking to make sweeping cuts.

Greenwich Leisure Limited was announced as the preferred bidder earlier this year and is set to take over all leisure facilities in Swindon on November 1.

GLL is a social enterprise which means all profits made are put back into the business.

A spokesman for the company has said they will look to improve opportunities for those currently working in the town’s leisure facilities.

Chris Symons, the director of development, said: “We are not an organisation which regularly hires and fires its staff.

“Our staff are very important to us and what I would say to staff is that they will get plenty of opportunities to progress.

“We have more than 30 sites in the Thames Corridor so their progression does not have to be limited to where they are now.

“I started as a recreation assistant and have since moved up, as have many of our other directors.”

There have also been concerns GLL will look to offload some of the non-profitable sites at the earliest opportunity, such as the Health Hydro.

While Mr Symons would not entirely rule out any closures he said the company would do everything it could to keep facilities open.

He said: “As a social enterprise all the profit we make goes back into the business so we would look to find a balance between the facilities which are making money and those which aren’t.

“Closing any site is just not something we are considering at this stage and if we ever were it would be the very last thing we would do.

“All of the venues have ‘keep open’ clauses so they are guaranteed to be open and the council has first option, so even if they do close there will not be boarded up buildings.”

GLL has also said it is looking to introduce a leisure offer whereby users of one facility can sign up to became a member of all those in Swindon.

Although not part of the lease programme, the Oasis is run on a day-to-day basis by GLL so is also likely to be included in the offer.

“We certainly are looking at a way of bringing them all together so people will be able to use all of the facilities,” said Mr Symons.

“The Oasis will hopefully form part of this offer but we need to make sure all the services match up.”

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