New cultural, heritage and leisure partner for Stafford Borough Council commences

Date: 1 Dec, 2017

Not-for-profit leisure trust, Freedom Leisure, which has been awarded a 10-year contract by Stafford Borough Council to operate its cultural, heritage and leisure facilities, has started operations of the portfolio.

The Gatehouse Theatre, The Ancient High House, Izaak Walton’s Cottage, Stafford Castle, Rowley Park Stadium, Stafford Leisure Centre, Westbridge Park Fitness Centre and Alleyne’s Sports Centre, along with many of Stafford’s top events, including the Stafford Half Marathon, the Stafford 10k and Shakespeare at the Castle will all become the responsibility of the facility operator, and Freedom Leisure have committed to a £6.4m investment across the contract; to include site developments, equipment upgrades and environmental upgrade projects.

Of the new contract, Ivan Horsfall-Turner, Freedom Leisure Managing Director, said: “We are hugely excited to commence operations in Stafford. The Borough is very unique when it comes to its portfolio of cultural, leisure and heritage facilities and it is our aspiration to deliver a very locally-focused service.”

Matt Hunt, Freedom Leisure Group Operations Director says: “We are very much looking forward to getting stuck in and meeting staff and customers today, yet maintaining business as normal. We have a highly qualified mobilisation team here this week to ensure the smooth transition and to be on hand to support both the site teams – we hope that our operational expertise, coupled with their extensive experience and knowledge will mean that the services will go from strength-to-strength.”

Cabinet Member for Leisure, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “We wanted to ensure our leisure and cultural facilities, and the services provided for residents, are protected and taken forward and in Freedom Leisure we believe we have the right partner to do that.

“I have seen the hard work and professionalism our Leisure and Culture team has brought to their roles and I am sure that will continue working with the trust and for the benefit of residents and customers.

“It is good to know that Freedom Leisure will be investing extensively across existing facilities – while at the same time there will be a significant saving to the council’s budget.”

For further details about Freedom Leisure visit

Press Release 5407


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