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New Sporta chief focused on survival of trusts

By Deven Pamben    08 Dec 2017
Cate Atwater will begin her role as Sporta chief executive on 1 January
There are threats and it is a worrying landscape for members. Based on member needs, I will propose a way forward to help trusts survive
– Cate Atwater, chief executive, Sporta

Cate Atwater, the newly appointed chief executive of Sporta – the national association which represents leisure and cultural trusts – has admitted her members face a “worrying landscape” as economic pressure mounts in the sector.

Speaking to Health Club Management, Atwater identified a series of concerns facing Sporta members, including keeping hold of their charitable status, VAT exemption, rising energy costs, local authority procurement, general financial pressures and Brexit.

“Initially my role will focus on member engagement and to re-check the priorities and needs of our members," she said.

"There are threats and it is a worrying landscape for members. Based on member needs, I will propose a way forward to help trusts survive.

“It's my responsibility to be aware of what those worries and threats are. It’s a challenging role but times are increasingly challenging for our members.”

Despite the threats, Atwater insisted that opportunities remain. “We're seeing the merging of trusts and an increase of single-site community trusts," she said.

“There's an increasing breadth of services being delivered by members. Trusts are developing and diversifying to help mitigate some of the threats.”

Atwater, who officially takes over from Brian Leonard on 1 January, joined Sporta in 2013 from charity Age UK.

She initially managed the Sporta's ‘Make Your Move’ programme, which was funded by Sport England, before becoming programmes and operations director.

Sporta has 120 members, which operate around 2,000 facilities in the UK.

Sporta  Cate Atwater  Sporta  Brian Leonard  Age UK 
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