Last month, the government announced more than £300 million will be injected into leisure and wellbeing developments, thanks to a number of successful Levelling Up Fund (LUF) bids. The investment allocation is part of a total £2.1 billion round two ‘levelling up’ investment fund introduced to help tackle regional inequalities.

Managing Director of Alliance Leisure, Paul Cluett, says the following:

This news is most welcome. Still too much of the UK’s leisure stock is tired and struggling to meet the modern needs of the communities it serves. This funding will unlock opportunities for those councils who submitted successful bids to develop new active environment in tune with modern day community needs. This will help to deliver against much wider objectives such as creating more active populations through better engagement with disengaged groups, tackling health inequalities and promoting community cohesion. £300 million is an encouraging step in the right direction, but we know more investment is needed to maintain sustainable public sector provision. It is also encouraging to hear that the government intends this round of investment to be followed by a third round.

One of the projects to benefit from round 2 of  LUF is the building of a new wellbeing hub in Caerphilly, Wales, courtesy of a successful bid to the tune of £20 million by Caerphilly County Borough Council supported by Alliance Leisure and Mutual Ventures. The development will be procured through the UK Leisure Framework, which is owned and managed by Denbighshire Leisure.

The new facility, to be located in the heart of Caerphilly, will become the flagship leisure and wellbeing hub for the whole county borough. This project is due to be delivered by Alliance Leisure , with ISG named as the principal construction partner, Watson Batty as architects and Hadron Consulting taking care of project management, and is expected to complete by March 2025.

In addition to the investment from LUF, Caerphilly County Council is also contributing more than £13 million from its own reserves towards the new facility, creating a total funding pot of more than £33 million.  

The wellbeing hub will include a swimming pool, fitness suite, active play centre for children and teenagers, spa and wellbeing facilities, a multi-purpose sports hall, catering facilities and several multi-use community rooms to support health, wellbeing and community cohesion.

The development is a key part of the council’s wider Sport and Active Recreation Strategy which aims to get more people, more active, more often. It also forms part of a major regeneration blueprint for Caerphilly town centre called the Caerphilly 2035 Place Making Plan – as well as the wider £500+ million place shaping programme for the wider county borough.

The UK Leisure Framework has already been utilised in the delivery of several other leisure projects made possible by the first round of LUF, including Clay Cross Active, a £24m new-build development on behalf of North East Derbyshire District Council, and Mablethorpe Leisure and Learning Hub which is in construction and due to open in the summer of 2024.

Artist’s impression of the new Caerphilly Leisure Centre