Leisure services in Knowsley are being protected in the future, thanks to the creation of a new ‘not for profit’ organisation to manage them.
The borough’s swimming pools, gyms, sports pitches, velodrome, BMX track and fitness classes will all be run by the new company, Volair, in a bid to protect these services from the threat of future Government cuts.
The council has reviewed how it delivers its services to see where savings can be made by doing things differently – this is due to the significant funding cuts imposed on the council by the Government. As a result, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet agreed at its meeting last week that leisure services will be managed differently from 1 April 2016.
All of the current Active Knowsley facilities, staff, activities, contact details and opening times will stay the same, but they will operate under a new company called Volair. Volair is a bespoke, council owned and controlled organisation that has been established to maintain leisure services across the borough. It’s a ‘not for profit’ organisation so any profits will be ploughed back into the services it provides.
The creation of the new company is not about cutting services – it aims to create sustainable and long-term leisure provision in Knowsley, run at no cost to the council. Extensive research into alternative options for running leisure services has been conducted and the most favourable option was the creation of a Local Authority Trading Company.
Cllr Andy Moorhead, Leader of Knowsley Council, said “Given the budget pressures we face, we have had to review how we can do things differently across a range of council services – leisure was a service which presented opportunities to be managed in a different way, help the council to make savings, but importantly, avoid the need to cut our leisure services. The creation of Volair is an important step forward in ensuring leisure services continue across the borough, which I know are very well used amongst not only our own residents, but those in neighbouring areas too. I am sure it will be a great success and go from strength to strength.”
Kevin Schofield, Managing Director of Volair, added “I’m delighted to be able to maintain the delivery of our popular and valued leisure services across Knowsley. As a standalone organisation, Volair will have more flexibility to realise cost savings whilst maintaining and delivery quality facilities and services. What this means for users is its business as usual. I look forward to welcoming our current members, as well as new customers, to Volair.”
To find out more about the great range of activities and facilities on offer call 0151 443 2200 or visit www.activeknowsley.gov.uk
Volair’s new website - www.volair.org.uk – will be available from 1 April 2016.