Cllr Donatus Anyanwu is the Cabinet Member for the Voluntary Sector and Leisure and a councillor in Coldharbour ward. Below is the speech he gave to Lambeth Cabinet on 13th September 2021 announcing our intention to bring Lambeth’s leisure services back in-house.
We have just experienced a summer where we have watched the EURO Football Championships, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and this weekend the Women’s US Open final won by a fantastic young woman from South London. These events and so many others illustrate that there are few forces in our society like sport, capable of engaging people, bringing them together, providing them with a sense of worth, vocation and identity and provoking a communal response. We want to harness the power of sport and activity for the good of Lambeth – not just for the inherent enjoyment it offers participants but to help us achieve our ambitions in public health, transport, the environment, education, employment and particularly the safety of our young people.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the leisure industry with restrictions causing disruption and uncertainty. In order to guarantee stability, we are proposing to extend the current GLL for a further year. This would allow us to devise new, long-term plans for our leisure centres post-Covid.
Leisure centres and sports pitches play an essential role in the sports offer in our borough, offering residents a wide range of sports they can play, ensuring they can keep healthy, and providing much needed and appreciated community space.
Promoting healthier lifestyles for Lambeth residents is a key priority for the council. Insourcing would allow the Council to respond more flexibly to meeting its strategic priorities. We believe by taking back the management of leisure centres, we would be in a better position to achieve our aims- providing more employment opportunities, reviewing our concession pricing, nurturing local talent and working towards carbon neutrality. Through insourcing leisure centres, we are demonstrating that we are holding on to our manifesto commitments and ensuring that we are constantly striving to improve service delivery.
Cllr Donatus Anyanwu