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Neath Port Talbot Council’s Leisure Services to be brought back in-house

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At their meeting on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022, Cabinet members agreed to bring Neath Port Talbot Council’s leisure services back under the council’s management (in-house).

A decision to outsource was taken in 2002 leading to the not-for-profit trust Celtic Leisure being appointed to run leisure services in 2003.

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The Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Cllr Ted Latham, said: “There are a number of advantages to bringing these facilities back to in-house and this decision will enable us to continue supporting many more people to live healthier lives

“The council will have full control of leisure centres and other facilities, enabling us to determine the approach to opening hours, service delivery, fees and charges to ensure our leisure offer is focused on helping reduce inequality and improving the health of residents. There will also be benefits to existing staff who will have the security of transferring into the council’s employment.

“Also, leisure services can be jointly marketed and operated alongside other local tourist and leisure offers to ensure a joined up approach, contributing to our objective of establishing Neath Port Talbot as a place people want to visit.”

Following the Cabinet decision, council officers will now work with Celtic Leisure to facilitate an in-house leisure service and undertake the necessary consultation work.

A report will be brought to members setting out proposed arrangements that will be necessary to establish a council controlled leisure service – the report will include the outcome of any public consultation for members to determine.

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Cllr Latham added: “We now look forward to bringing our leisure services back in-house with the aim of increasing participation by our residents in sport and physical activity, encouraging people to become more active to improve their health and wellbeing.”

The Cabinet decision is subject to a three-day call in period.

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Fitness

Welsh rugby stars’ ambitions to ensure everyone in Wales has access to fitness and wellbeing activities

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The Wales rugby stars behind an app which aims to give people of all ages and abilities straightforward access to workouts, fitness activities and exclusive offers are seeking funding of £300,000 as part of ambitious plans to ensure their market disrupting platform is downloaded and used across the whole of Wales, before turning their attention to the rest of the UK.

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Ospreys and Wales Rugby International, Alex Cuthbert (Image: Fitap)

Fitap, which launched in the midst of lockdown in 2020, brings the world of fitness and wellbeing into one easily accessible app in order to create and reward a community of people who enjoy staying physically and mentally active. 

The team behind the already popular app, which includes Wales rugby stars Alex Cuthbert and Gareth Anscombe, now hope to extend its features, as well as build a sales team and increase marketing through crowdfunding.

“Our aim is to leverage technology to make staying fit easier, cheaper and more enjoyable,” says Wales rugby international Alex Cuthbert, “Sometimes people get intimidated about physically going to a gym or exploring activities to help their mental health and wellbeing, but this makes access easier.”

In a survey of current users, 71% said that Fitap helped them find either facilities or online sessions, with 92% saying they’d recommend it. 

Alex adds, “I’ve played rugby for most of my life, and it really makes you feel like you’re part of a family. We want to help customers find their passion, and in doing so, help them meet new people with similar interests. What’s better than getting physically and mentally healthier, whilst also feeling part of a community?”

Wales and Ospreys rugby star, Gareth Anscombe (Image: Fitap)

For business partner and fellow Wales and Ospreys teammate, Gareth Anscombe, Fitap is the passion project that kept him busy when struggling psychologically after being ruled out of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan with knee ligament damage.

He says that for people starting their fitness journey, it can be a minefield; “The gym isn’t for everybody and, when it comes to wellbeing, it’s important to provide support for those who’ve had a few setbacks in life. 

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“For me, in rugby, there’s been great times, but it’s not always smooth sailing. I feel it’s important to provide support and make talking about fitness and mental health more accessible.”

The app, which is free for users, charges businesses a fee to be listed in return for promotion to members of the public who want to find new ways to get active.

“Because advertising costs tend to be high and therefore too risky for individual fitness providers to try, nobody currently owns consumers’ minds in this space. We aim to!” says business partner, Dean Jones, who has a background in marketing and advertising. 

Those with enquiries can find out more on the Fitap website and invest using the Crowdcube platform.

(Lead image: Fitap)

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