New Partnerships

The Valuable 500

Places Leisure are proud to have joined the Valuable 500, a growing cohort of businesses who are committed to putting disability on the agenda. The aim is to unlock the business, social and economic value of people who are living with disabilities across the world. Over 1.3 billion people across the world live with some form of disability, with 80% of disabilities being acquired between the ages of 18 and 64 (the ages of which the majority of our workforce are). To find out more about the Valuable 500 movement, take a look here:

We are delighted to get involved in the Valuable 500 Campaign as we continue on our inclusion journey and aim to understand ways in which we can refine our approaches and create both a positive internal and external culture that is inclusive for all.

Places Leisure are committed to:

  • Ensuring that inclusion remains high on the board agenda.
  • Making dementia and mental health awareness training available for all of our 8,500 colleagues.
  • Training 70 mental health first aiders and 7 inhouse mental health first aid trainers to support colleagues.
  • Continue to run Equality, Diversity and Inclusion workshops for colleagues.
  • Deepening our partnership with Level Water, which offers free swimming to children with disabilities. 
  • Seeking to increase the opportunities available to those living with disabilities by including pathways to mainstream activities.

Sandra Dodd, comments: “The Valuable 500 will give us a real opportunity to learn from others both within and outside the leisure sector as we look to move away from disability and shift the focus to ability. Collectively, we can make a difference and change the landscape of inclusivity within leisure; ensuring that we create welcoming and most importantly supportive environments that enable everyone to access more active and healthier lifestyles.”

Change and Check Campaign

Places Leisure have embraced the lifesaving Change and Check campaign which aims to raise awareness and promote early detection of breast cancer. 

The Change and Check campaign is the brain child of ITV’s Lorraine producer Helen Addis who was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2018 and it has already seen a lot of traction. Across the UK more than 5,000 stickers have made their way into bathrooms and changing rooms to encourage woman to check for any signs of breast cancer whilst getting changed. The campaign has gleaned great support from big retail chains as well as celebrities alike.

We will be placing ‘Change and Check’ stickers (shown here) which illustrate how to check for any signs of breast cancer within all of our leisure facilities.

Well done to Nicola Allen (General Manager at Court Garden Leisure Complex) for suggesting Places Leisure get involved in the initiative and to Suzie Travers (Regional Marketing Manager) for coordinating the roll out of it. A massive thank you to Nicola as well as Simon Churchman and Mathew Nicholson (Contract Managers) for generously covering the cost of printing the stickers for us to use across the Places Leisure estate.

Air Ambulance and Right Directions Partnership

Places Leisure has teamed up with the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and health and safety expert, Right Directions, to develop guidance around air ambulance landings within leisure centre grounds. The advice has been shared, free of charge with the entire sector.

The partnership follows Places Leisure’s own Head of Safety, Andy Read’s, cardiac arrest in August 2018, when he was treated by the EAAA crew and flown to Basildon in Essex for specialist treatment.

Andy, who is now back at work full-time, said “Being back at work prompted me to think about just how many leisure centres must be suitable locations for an air ambulance helicopter to land safely. Even if the incident isn’t within a leisure centre, they are always close to housing estates and town centres. We are asking all leisure operators to read the guidance and contact their local air ambulance service to explore opportunities for a nominated landing site on their grounds. If we can save or extend just one person’s life by encouraging leisure centres to pair up with their air ambulance team it would be amazing.”