Olympic legacy operator steps in to acquire Sporthouse Sports Club
Innovative charitable social enterprise, GLL, the largest operator of public leisure facilities in the UK operating under the brand name ‘Better’, acquired Sporthouse in Lodge Avenue, Dagenham – the UK's largest sports club and 2012 London Games training venue - on 1 February 2014.
With the acquisition of Sporthouse, Better now run leisure facilities in all six Olympic host boroughs. For Sporthouse customers, it is business as usual. The sports centre will now be known as "Barking Sporthouse and Gym" and Better plans to invest an initial £100,000 in the facility. This will see local people immediately benefit from a 'facelift' for reception, health and fitness changing rooms as well as upgraded studios and new IT systems.
The venue was officially opened by five times Olympic gold medal winning rower Sir Steve Redgrave in April 2012. . It has the country’s biggest multi-use sports hall at 5000m², a huge gym and two outdoor basketball courts including the capacity for up to 6,000 spectators. Back in October 2013, Sporthouse went into administration, although a full service continued for customers
Better is committed to offering world class facilities to the communities of East London and more than 500,000 people a year are expected to use the revamped centre. The Olympic legacy operator is planning a two-phase development programme, designed to boost health and fitness provision as well as to invest in the centre's massive indoor sports hall.
Comments Managing Director, Mark Sesnan, "We're very excited about the acquisition of Barking Sporthouse and Gym which is a top sports venue and really puts the borough on the map. With our experience running two key former Olympic venues in legacy mode– the London Aquatics Centre and the Copper Box Arena - we are determined to offer local people the chance to experience world class sporting facilities on their doorstep."
Better works in partnership with over 30 local authorities and manages more than 140 facilities with 450,000 members and 6,000 staff. However, the acquisition of Sporthouse will expand its wholly-owned portfolio which already includes Charlton Lido and Lifestyle Club in South London and a chain of low-cost Better Gyms.
Thanks to Better's acquisition of Sporthouse, talented young athletes who are based at Sporthouse will now have the chance to apply for financial and training grants from the GLL Sport Foundation (GSF), the largest independent scheme of its type in the UK, set up to support the next generation of emerging sporting talent. With Olympic Gold Medallist Sally Gunnell OBE as patron, the GSF currently support 1,100 athletes.