THE group that runs leisure centres across Powys ended the year almost £100,000 over budget – despite a six-figure cash injection from Powys County Council.

Freedom Leisure's annual report will go before Powys Council's economy, residents and communities scrutiny committee on Monday, September 11.

It will show that the not for profit company, which runs 13 leisure centres and swimming pools across Powys, ran £93,798 over budget, even after £287,000 of support from the council.

Freedom Leisure, which was awarded a 15-year contract in 2015, said utility costs remain its greatest risk, with monthly costs £62,000 higher than the previous year, and total increased costs in 2023-24 topping £988,000.

“Trading at current levels, it is not clear how the cost of living crisis will affect our customer’s spending habits on memberships and usage," the report adds.


“This will become more visible as we progress through 2023-2024.”

The company has seen a 3.71 per cent drop in its use of electricity and 2.75 in gas compared to 2021/2022.

The report explains that this is due to replacing mechanical and electrical plant equipment, investing in LED lighting and “regular energy monitoring.”

It also reveals that Freedom Leisure has signed a new two-year fixed electricity contract and a three-year gas deal.

Freedom Leisure chief executive Ivan Horsfall Turner said: “The 2022-2023 financial year has again been challenging for the sport and leisure sector, predominantly due to the alarming increases in energy prices.

READ MORE: Powys Council launches review over future of leisure centres

“Despite this, Freedom Leisure with the support of Powys County Council has continued to provide the best possible service for its customers, offering value for money and accessible leisure facilities in the communities we serve.

“In 2023-2024, the team in Powys will continue to work tirelessly to improve lives through leisure and have a positive impact on both the physical and mental wellbeing of all its customers across Powys.”

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The report does contain some good news with a rise of visitor numbers by 35 per cent and a 28 per cent increase in “active participation”  on the previous year.

Casual swimming visits have also increased by 8.58 per cent and membership levels have increased by 19 per cent.

In July, the council started an “in depth” review of leisure services in the county and a survey asking people for their views on a “sustainable leisure offer” was open until August 28.