City of Wolverhampton Council Leisure Services
The City of Wolverhampton Council runs its own leisure service under the brand name WV Active. The service is focused around three leisure centres and is vital to the Council’s public health strategy and delivering against its priorities of keeping older people active, supporting good mental health, and tackling childhood obesity.
Over the last couple of years, the service has seen a significant increase in active members, with membership growing from 6,000 to 10,000. The council sees potential for further growth, to deliver more services from community leisure facilities, and to engage with users in the city that do not typically attend the leisure centres.
The Council wanted support to identify the best model for the service. It felt that a more ambitious leisure offer could address public health challenges, engage partners in the NHS and business community, and increase the long-term financial viability of the service.
We were commissioned to explore the options for establishing an alternative delivery model for the future of WV Active. Working with the council, we looked at how a new model could provide:
- A more flexible operational approach
- Create the conditions for future growth
- Enhance WV Active’s objective to help residents to live longer, healthier and more active lives
Initially we analysed the different options available to the Council and provided a recommendation for further analysis. This was followed by the development of a detailed business case, setting out the strategic, economic, commercial, financial and management case for the preferred option.
We worked alongside the service leads in leisure and public health, and corporate colleagues, to investigate the strategic case for change, understand technical considerations, and analyse financial implications of change.
Mutual Venture supported Wolverhampton Council through a thorough process of investigation and provided the council with the basis to make a well-informed decision. Our conclusion was that the creation of a new leisure trust, in the form of a charity, would best serve the public health and financial sustainability objectives of the council.
As a charity, the service would become more operationally flexible allowing it to broaden its service offer and develop a presence in the community which goes beyond the walls of the leisure centres. Additional community facilities could be brought under the WV Active umbrella, which would bring a consistency of provision across Wolverhampton and maximise opportunities for residents.