South East Wales

Newport leisure services could be run by trust

Woman running on treadmill in gym
Image caption Newport council needs to make further savings across its leisure services

Leisure services in Newport could be run by an independent trust in a bid to save the council £440,000.

If agreed, facilities including Newport International Sports Village would remain in council ownership but would be run by a non-for-profit body.

The cost associated with the creation of a trust has not yet been calculated.

It is not known how the council's existing 500 leisure workers would be affected.

The idea for a trust was first put forward by Newport council in September to try and ease financial pressures.

The venues affected include Newport International Sports Village, Newport Centre, Newport Stadium and Caerleon Golf Course and club.

The council's sports development service and its booking and memberships teams would also be moved over, resulting in an overall council saving of £440,000.

Staffing and standards

A report to councillors says the authority had worked hard to reduce its budgets in the past few years by closing some leisure centres, reducing running costs and cutting staff numbers.

But it said more savings must be made.

A committee set up to look into the idea has raised concerns about whether a trust would continue to reinvest in services and if current standards and staff would be maintained.

But members generally backed the idea saying a trust could possibly generate higher levels of income and might encourage more community involvement.

It added the council would still be able to maintain an arms-length level of control by holding 20% of positions on the board of any new trust.

No decision had yet been made on the plans.

Other Welsh councils, including neighbouring Torfaen, have already set up trusts to run their leisure services.

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