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West Suffolk Council signs six figure support package for leisure centres

West Suffolk Council has given a six figure financial support package to its leisure operator to cope with the costs of the coronavirus lockdown.

Abbeycroft Leisure runs the gyms and leisure centres in Brandon, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Newmarket and Mildenhall on behalf of the authority, but was forced to close its facilities once lockdown began in late March.

Staff at those facilities have been furloughed, and has secured other government support mechanisms while there has been no income.

Bury St Edmunds leisure centre. (36061381)
Bury St Edmunds leisure centre. (36061381)

The council has now signed off a £154,300 package to help Abbeycroft meet the costs for April, May and June.

Councillor John Griffiths, council leader, said: “Like other leisure operators, their income has stopped while costs continue, and we have worked with them to get them Government support, as we have with other West Suffolk businesses.

“This support relates to costs that have been incurred between April and June and are directly attributable to council-owned leisure centres.

“The support will be reviewed in mid-June, when further measures for lifting lockdown are rolled out and we can work on recovery.

Among the costs the organisation still faces are wages for its skeleton staff, utility costs and maintenance expenditure.

According to the council’s report, Abbeycroft is also using its own reserves to meet some of the additional costs.

It is understood the bailout is being funded from the Government grant handed to the council as part of the Covid-19 response.

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