Serco contract win ensures bright future for National Sports Centres
Date: 08 Apr 2011
A ground-breaking new 15-year deal between Sport England and Serco has cemented the future of two of Sport England's key National Sports Centres that were among the cornerstone of Team GB's record success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The agreement will see Serco provide a range of support services including catering, hospitality and events, landscaping, reception and security services, marketing and communications. In addition, Serco will work in partnership with Sport England to create new accommodation and sporting facilities at both sites, as well as upgrading existing facilities and conference venues.
Bisham Abbey and Lilleshall provided the training base for 29 of our medal-winning athletes in 2008, and today they are helping hone the competitive prospects of our teams preparing for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For this reason, major developments and refurbishments will not begin until after the Games.
But the two centres are not just about providing an outstanding training environment for elite athletes from sports including professional football, rugby, tennis, hockey and more. The National Sports Centres also provide excellent amenities for their local communities and are flourishing grassroots venues - in 2009/2010, for example, there were over 250,000 visits to Lilleshall, which is home to 80 different community clubs, and 128,000 visits to Bisham Abbey.
Serco's selection followed an intensive strategic review and competitive tender process, with a view to improving efficiency combined with achieving the best possible sporting performance at every level.
According to Keith Thomas, Manager Director of Serco's Leisure business, "it's fantastic to think that we now have such a fundamental role in maintaining and improving the nation's sporting fabric, from beginners to professionals. We're particularly pleased that our great performance in running 65 leisure facilities for community leisure trusts, local authorities and universities was a critical factor in our selection.
"This is a highly prestigious contract that reflects well on everybody connected with Serco's leisure centre business. We're really looking forward to working closely over the years to come with Sport England itself, the National Governing Bodies of sports (NGBs) and UK Sport, to help them all meet their aspirations and create truly world-class community facilities."
Sport England Chair Richard Lewis adds: "We were hugely impressed with Serco's ideas for improving the sporting offer at both venues. I'm delighted to welcome them into the broad family of partners working with us to create a world-leading community sport environment. In delivering better sporting outcomes and improved value for money, this deal exemplifies what our Board seeks in all Sport England's work."
Serco is already working with a range of NGBs, including England Hockey, British Gymnastics, England Squash and GB Archery as well as the English Institute of Sport.
As Keith Thomas continues, "This is greatly helping us to understand what we can do to support the development of these sports and their athletes at all levels - from community and talent development right through to elite use. This knowledge will properly inform how we deliver against the detailed national sports development plan focusing on community and talent development in our local communities and improving regional opportunities across a range of sports."
Under the new deal the NGBs retain priority booking rights and protection on pricing, freeing Serco to concentrate on developing commercial activities that will underpin the future of both venues.
For further information please contact Serco:
Adam Fergie, Communications Director, Direct Services, Local Government and Commercial
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