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Leading Bodies For Health, Sport, Fitness And Leisure Urge Prime Minister To Intervene As Grassroots Facilities Face ‘Final Straw’ If Energy Relief Ends

A bright white sign at a local outdoor pool facility saying pool is closed.

A coalition of more than 200 bodies and individuals* from the worlds of health, sport, recreation, and leisure has written to the Prime Minister with an urgent plea for greater support for grassroots facilities and clubs amid the ongoing energy crisis.

With energy costs relief for the UK’s swimming pools, leisure centres, community facilities, and gyms ending on 31 March, thousands of facilities and clubs are at risk of permanent closure or reduced services, as public and private sector organisations of all sizes face unprecedented financial challenges, with bills remaining up to 200% higher than normal.

For public leisure operators running services within local authorities, the latest data from ukactive’s members shows that 31% of council areas in England remain at risk of losing their leisure centre(s) or seeing reduced services at their leisure centre(s), from 1 April**, with around 350 facilities nationally already having seen service restrictions, temporary and permanent closures since October 2022.

The signatories of the letter range from major health bodies to sport’s national governing bodies, and the nation’s biggest fitness and leisure groups, while athletes such as Rebecca Adlington and celebrities including Davina McCall have also added their support.

The letter warns that “Failure to identify bespoke support for the sector (and schools operating sports facilities) as part of the Energy Bills Discount Scheme will be the final straw for many facilities and services – especially swimming pools.

“Without national intervention, communities will see the loss of essential local services, including swimming lessons for children which are vital for water safety; multi-sport offerings; mental health services; bespoke programmes for older citizens, ethnically diverse communities, women and girls, and disabled people; and long-term health programmes including cancer rehabilitation and support for those with musculoskeletal conditions and type 2 diabetes.”

Within the letter, the coalition calls for the Government to: 

  • Reclassify swimming pools as energy-intensive as part of the Energy Bills Discount Scheme so they have access to thehigher level of discount on energy prices.
  • Set out what tangible support it will provide to the wider sector –including gyms, leisure centres, sports facilities, and clubs –to help navigate the energy crisis across 2023 so that service restrictions and facility closures can be minimised.
  • Set out a “plan for growth” for the sector by aligning the proposed new Sports Strategy with the Spring Budget to unlock the potential of the sector to support the economic, health, educational and social wellbeing of the nation.

The letter was coordinated by a group of bodies, including: Active Partnerships, the Association for Public Service Excellence, the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity, the Chief Cultural & Leisure Officers Association, Community Leisure UK, District Councils’ Network, the Local Government Association, Sported, the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the Sport for Development Coalition, Swim England, the Swimming Teachers’ Association, the Youth Sport Trust, and ukactive.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “Over two hundred organisations and prominent individuals are united in urging the Government to safeguard essential community facilities across the country that remain under threat of service restrictions and closure, impacting people of all ages and backgrounds. 

“Pools, gyms, leisure centres, and community facilities form part of our social fabric, and they are vital for our nation’s health and the economy. Action must be taken to protect our facilities, and to help them recover and grow so they can in turn support the growth of a healthier, happier, more productive nation.” 

Jane Nickerson, Chief Executive of Swim England, said: “The breadth of organisations who have joined forces to send such a clear message to the Government demonstrates the hugely important role our pools and leisure centres play in supporting the health of the nation and the seriousness of the situation these facilities are facing as a result of hugely increased energy costs.

“It’s vital they get the support they need so they can remain at the heart of local communities, helping people lead healthier and happier lives and reducing pressures on the NHS and social care system.”

Read the full letter here. To support the sector, contact your MP with your concerns.

*The signatories:

1Life Management Solutions

Abbeycroft Leisure

Active IQ

Active Nation

Active Partnerships

Activity Alliance

Alliance Leisure Services

Anytime Clubs UK

Archery GB

Arthritis Action

Association of British Climbing Walls

Association for Public Service Excellence

Atrium Fitness

Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists

Badminton England

Barnsley Premier Leisure

Baseball Softball UK

Basketball England

BH Live

Boccia England

British American Football Association

British Association of Sport Rehabilitators and Trainers

British Canoeing

British Cycling

British Dressage

British Equestrian

British Fencing

British Gymnastics

British Ice Skating

British Judo

British Mountaineering Council

British Paralympic Association

British Rowing

British Shooting

British Showjumping

British Swimming Pool Federation

British Taekwondo

British Triathlon

British Water Ski & Wakeboard

British Weightlifting

British Wheelchair Basketball

British Wrestling

Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity Community Leisure UK

Chief Cultural & Leisure Officers Association

Club Kingswood

Code Fitness

Coordinate Sport

David Lloyd Leisure

District Councils’ Network

Durham County Council

Edinburgh Leisure

Edstart Sports Coaching

eGym GmBH


Endurance GB

England and Wales Cricket Board

England Athletics

England Bowls

England Boxing

England Golf

England Handball

England Hockey

England Lacrosse

England Netball

England Squash

English Indoor Bowling Association

Everybody Health & Leisure


Fitness First Clubs


Freedom Leisure


Fusion Lifestyle

GB Boxing


GM Active

Goalball UK

Good Boost

Great Britain Diving Federation

Great Britain Outrigger

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby

Greenhouse Sports


Halo Leisure

Hurlingham Polo Association

InBody UK


International Longevity Centre UK

Junior Adventure Group

Karate Union of Great Britain


Laban Guild International

Leeds City Council – Sport

Leisure-net Solutions

Lifestyle Fitness


Local Government Association

Miha Bodytec

Mosaic Spa & Health Clubs

Move it or Lose it

Move Technologies


North Lanarkshire Council

Nuffield Health


Orthopaedic Research UK

Outdoor Industry Association

Parkour UK

Parkwood Leisure

Pentathlon GB

Places Leisure


Quartz Sequoia Events

Richmond Group of Charities

Rounders England

Royal Life Saving Society UK

Royal Yachting Association

Rugby Football League

Rugby Football Union

Scottish Leisure Network Group


Simply Smiles

Skateboard GB

SLM Community Leisure Charity Trust

SLM Health and Fitness

Snowsport England

Snowsport Wales

Sport Aberdeen

Sport and Recreation Alliance

Sport for Confidence

Sport for Development Coalition


Sports Leaders

Squash Wales

Stevenage Leisure

Surfing England

Swim England

Swim Wales

Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association

Swimming Teachers’ Association

Table Tennis England

The Food Addiction Coach

The Golf Foundation

The Gym Group

Thomas Pocklington Trust

Total Fitness

Trilogy Active

UK Athletics

UK Ultimate


Volleyball England

Wales Golf

Wales Netball

Water Babies

Watford FC Community Trust

Welsh Athletics

Welsh Cycling

Welsh Judo

Welsh Sports Association

Welsh Triathlon

Women In Sport

Women’s Sport Collective

Youth Sport Trust


Zoom Media

Rebecca Adlington OBE

Chemmy Alcott

Claire Cashmore MBE

Ed Clancy OBE

James Cracknell OBE

Ben Cutmore

Sharron Davies MBE

Laura Deas

Sam Downie

Mark Foster

Chelsie Giles

Luke Greenbank

Duncan Goodhew MBE

Mike Goody

Charlie Guest

Michael Gunning

Alfie Hewett

Anna Hopkin MBE

Adrian Moorhouse MBE

Alfie Hewett

Andy Jameson

Liz Johnson

Matty Lee MBE

Davina McCall

Steve Parry MBE

Keri-Anne Payne

Scarlett Mew Jensen

Jonnie Peacock MBE

Karen Pickering MBE

Scott Quin

Rebecca Redfern

Ellie Robinson MBE

Will Sach MBE

Kate Shortman

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix

Alice Tai MBE

Leon Taylor

Iwan Thomas

Daley Thompson CBE

Isabelle Thorpe

Dr Mike Tipton MBE

Lloyd Wallace

David Weir CBE

Professor Greg Whyte OBE

Marc Woods

Melanie Woods

** Risk register assessment survey conducted by the ukactive Research Institute with ukactive public sector leisure operator members. Responses were received from 21 national and multi-site operators, representing 35% of all UK council areas (February 2023)