At your leisure

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After the success of the London 2012 Olympics, both central and local government are keen to encourage and boost the take-up of sport in schools and communities. If your school or college has sports facilities that could do with a revamp, have you thought of approaching your council about opening them up for community use?

Under a shared use agreement between a council and a school or college, the council may make the school’s or college’s leisure facilities available for the local community outside of teaching hours. Shared use arrangements can benefit both the school and the council through increasing the usage of the facilities while improving the economic, budgetary and operational performance of the leisure provision. It can also create opportunities for capital improvements. This can deliver improved leisure facilities for schools and colleges and their students while contributing to improving fitness and wellbeing in, and stronger links with, the local community.

Governing bodies considering shared use agreements should take advice from lawyers who understand and have experience advising on the issues – from the education, local government and leisure perspectives. Walker Morris LLP acts for schools, colleges, local authorities, leisure trusts and leisure operators throughout the UK, and has advised on a range of shared use agreements.

In this tough economic climate, shared use agreements can offer better leisure facilities, without a large capital outlay, and schools and colleges should give them a sporting chance.