Harrogate Hydro

Harrogate District Leisure Services move to Local Authority Controlled Company, along with a new focus on health and wellbeing

3 August 2021

Harrogate Borough Council has officially launched its new community health and wellbeing company, Brimhams Active.

Last year (June), Harrogate Borough Council formally approved the decision to establish a Local Authority Controlled Company (LACC) called Brimhams Active.  The change encompasses all community buildings and leisure/ swimming pool facilities. Around 200 staff have also moved across to the new company from Harrogate Borough Council.

To mark the occasion, Brimhams Active has published its new vision – ‘A healthier more active population living longer more independent and happier lives’ – and strategy for the local authority controlled company as well as launching a new website, www.brimhamsactive.co.uk

In order to achieve this vision, Brimhams Active’s strategy has a number of key objectives and aims, including:

  • Help people move more, live well and feel great
  • Make a transformative shift from a conventional leisure service to become a community health and wellbeing company
  • Reduce the proportion of the population that is physically inactive
  • Contribute to reducing health inequalities, particularly obesity in the local community
  • Provide opportunities for participation at a wider range of places and spaces
  • Work with local authorities, partner organisations and stakeholders to develop partnerships and facilities

See Our strategy (brimhamsactive.co.uk)

This strategy is built around the Brimhams Active ‘five ways to wellness’ service model. These being recovery, mindset, connection, nutrition and, at its core, movement.

Customers will use the new website to find out more about the services provided by Brimhams Active as well booking sessions at leisure centres and facilities across the Harrogate district.

Mark Tweedie, managing director of Brimhams Active, said:

I’m delighted to take on the role of managing director at Brimhams Active. The scale of the challenge set for us is more than matched by the scale of the opportunities we have in our grasp.

Launching Brimhams Active with a new strategy and investment programme will allow us to transform a conventional leisure service into a leading community focussed health and wellbeing service.

There is clear evidence that people need to be more active to combat rising obesity levels and prevent ill health due to poor lifestyle choice.

Our vision and strategy has some clear and achievable objectives. We will help Harrogate district residents of all ages, from all walks of life, live a healthy lifestyle and stay active for longer.

We know we can’t do this alone and nor should we. We will work with partner organisations and stakeholders to develop partnerships and facilities to provide a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

Councillor Stanley Lumley, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, and chair of the board of directors at Brimhams Active, said: 

We are committed to enabling people move more, live well and feel great.

To help achieve this, we have significant investment plans to ensure the most up-to-date facilities are available across the Harrogate district for future generations. We want to make sure being active is attractive, welcoming and inclusive, especially for groups of people who tend to be less active.

We have a bold and exciting strategic vision for Brimhams Active and I am delighted to become the first chair to lead the newly formed board of directors. We are all committed to helping shape and guide the future direction of this new company to ensure it delivers its strategic objectives on behalf of the council.

To support this new strategy, and launch of Brimhams Active, the borough council have committed to a significant investment programme. This includes;

  • A new six lane 25-metre pool at Ripon Leisure Centre to replace the aging Ripon Spa Baths. As well as an extended gym, refurbishment of the existing leisure centre, two new activity studios, a spin studio as well as meeting facilities.
  • Reconfiguration of Fairfax Wellbeing and Community Hub that will provide a new studio and meeting space for exercise and community group activities.A new leisure centre in Knaresborough that will include a new pool and leisure facilities to replace the existing facility
  • Refurbishment to existing leisure centre at The Hydro in Harrogate and provide extended gym and group exercise

This investment programme will also have a key focus on carbon management and energy efficiencies to contribute to the council’s ambitious carbon reduction goals.

Becoming a LACC has a number of benefits. As well as significant cost savings, a LACC can reinvest profits back into health and wellbeing facilities. It also prevents the constraints of time-consuming decision-making processes, becoming more agile and responsive to changes in demand and services.

Staff have been kept up-to-date about the changes and as of 1 August have been TUPE to Brimhams Active on all existing terms and conditions.

1 Comment

  1. It’s good that local wellbeing facilities are in what’s left of public sector control – I wouldn’t use them otherwise – so we need to ensure fair taxation to support health and wellbeing is not evaded by those hoping to evade their responsibility to their community.

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