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Serco awarded five-year leisure contract extension in Northern Ireland

Published: 2 Mar 2023

Serco’s leisure business has been awarded a five-year extension on its contract to operate three facilities in the Ards and North Down area of Northern Ireland.

Serco and its operating partner in the region, Northern Community Leisure Trust (NCLT) have managed Bangor Aurora Aquatic & Leisure Complex, Bangor Sportsplex and Queen’s Leisure Complex in Holywood since April 2013, when they were awarded a 10-year contract by Ards and North Down Council.

In July 2021 the Council made the decision this contract would not continue beyond its original 10-year period, with leisure services planned to be directly managed by the Council from April this year.

However, in September of 2022, the Council decided to re-engage with Serco and NCLT to explore options, which could result in their continuing management of the three centres. In December of 2022, following a meeting of council Members, Serco and NCLT were awarded a contract extension which would take them up to April 2028.  

Simon Lane, Serco’s Managing Director for Leisure & Micromobility said:

“We are delighted the local council are continuing to place their faith in us to provide quality leisure services for the people of Bangor, Holywood and surrounding areas.

“Once centres reopened following the various lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, our on-site teams have worked extremely hard to attract and retain customers, which has helped us recover at a faster rate than expected - allowing us to present a more cost-effective proposal to the council when negotiations resumed in September 2022.

“Over the past decade, we have built an excellent relationship with Ards and North Down Council, and we look forward to supporting them and the people of the region during this challenging economic period.”

Stephen Reid, Chief Executive for Ards and North Down Council added:

“In September 2022, Council took the decision to re-engage with NCLT to explore options/costs for it to continue running our leisure facilities in Bangor and Holywood post April 2023.  The subsequent bid prepared by Serco (on behalf of NCLT) offered significant savings and given the challenging economic climate, the Council chose to capitalise on this and offered Serco a five-year contract extension.    

“The Council has enjoyed a very successful and productive relationship with Serco and NCLT for almost 10 years and looks forward to this continuing.”

Since 2013, Bangor Aurora has twice been named Club/Centre of the Year for the region at the prestigious ukactive awards. It is also the reigning World Cup of Pools champion.