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GLL

Contact  |  Updates
Daryll Neita, GLL Athlete who secured a bronze in the women’s 100m and a silver in the 4x4 100m relay at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games
What we can do for you
Our purpose is to improve the physical, mental and social wellbeing of local communities.

As the UK’s leading provider of both leisure centres and libraries we operate nearly 400 locations all helping to make a real difference to local communities and local people.

Every penny that GLL makes is reinvested back into the business to support our social purpose. www.gll.org

Background/History
GLL was formed as a ‘spin out’ from Greenwich Council’s Leisure Department in 1993 – starting with just seven leisure facilities.

We are a staff owned charitable social enterprise – a leisure provider that follows a different, fairer and better way of doing business.

We are proud to be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

Key products and services
GLL operates over leisure, health, libraries and sports and legacy development.

GLL’s position as sport and leisure’s leading charitable social enterprise is built upon a solid foundation of services we provide to partners, key stakeholders and customers.

GLL helps build active and sustainable communities through partnership working. We work to a social agenda and are committed to providing accessible community facilities for all. We believe in offering value for money.

Our services are wide ranging and offer current and potential partners a range of solutions and options for enhanced service delivery, increased value for money and tangible added value through social value measurement and reporting.

We’ve been operating leisure centres since 1993 – since 2014 under our customer facing brand “Better” www.better.org.uk, and it’s probably what we’re best known for.

We are the UK’s largest public pools and public libraries provider – and the biggest provider of school swimming lessons.

USPs
We are the largest charitable leisure social enterprise in the UK, celebrating 30 years in 2023.

We operate the UK’s largest independent athlete support programme – The GLL Sport Foundation https://www.gllsportfoundation.org/ Celebrating 15 years in 2023 under our Patron Sally Gunnell, the Foundation has supported 24,000 athletes on their sporting journey since its inception in 2008, resulting in dozens of medals at international competition including Commonwealth Games, Olympics and Paralympics.

We are the UK’s largest public libraries operator – in 2023 celebrating 10 years of offering some of the best-used libraries in the country.

We are rooted in local communities, at the heart of health and wellbeing.

We produce impressive amounts of social value (£350m in 2022) – across a range of measures from physical and mental health to subjective wellbeing, to individual development and social and community development.

We operate some of the most iconic legacy facilities in the UK including the Manchester Aquatic Centre, London Aquatic Centre, Copper Box Arena and since 2022 – the London 2012 Olympic venues of the Lee Valley Regional Park.
GLL video gallery:
Plans for the next 12 months
Continue the strong bounce back from Covid, growing membership and sales.

Reducing barriers to participation by maintaining our concessions and Kids for a Quid scheme.

Partnering with UK Active, Community Leisure UK, the LGA, RLSS, Swim England and SEUK lobbying central and local government for financial support to meet the ‘existential threat’ to public leisure operators from utility price rises.
Key personnel
Peter Bundey, chief executive officer
Phil Donnay, deputy ceo
Mark Sesnan, OBE, chief officer and special adviser
Key customers
Companies we work with include Annodata, Physical Company, Technogym, Change Please and Divine Chocolate.

Local Authorities and Agencies we work with include Greenwich Council, Belfast City Council, Cardiff City Council, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, LLDC, ukactive, SportsAid, SportsAid Wales, Mary Peters Trust, Swim England and Sport England.
Testimonial
“We made the decision to begin supporting the GLL Sport Foundation in 2015, and it is a pleasure to announce the renewal of our sponsorship with this incredible institution.

"Many bright and talented athletes throughout the United Kingdom are unable to chase their dreams of sporting glory due to lack of funding. We are passionate about helping GSF give equal opportunities to all young people and achieving their dreams of competing on the international stage.

"Our partnership enables both our brands to share the success of the UK’s most aspiring athletes who we are proud to have heard speak in such an inspirational way at our internal Sales Conferences and who have supported our marketing and brand development goals through representation and storytelling both in person and via social media”.
– Rod Tonna-Barthet, chief executive, Annodata
"I am so thankful for the support I have received from GLL Sport Foundation. My first individual medal ever is extremely special, and I would not be here if it wasn’t for the support, I have received from the GLL ‘family’.”
– Daryll Neita, Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze and silver medalist, GLL Athlete
"This exciting new chapter cements the future of our six key sports venues and is part of our commitment to the many communities we serve far and wide. We have carefully structured this partnership with GLL to ensure that visitors will continue to enjoy the very best in these stellar, highly popular venues. We look forward to together creating exciting new programmes and activities that draw on the strengths of both organisations.

“These venues are part of the Lee Valley visitor experience and will continue to be so with some of the best facilities and most inspiring settings to be found anywhere. As part of the partnership Lee Valley Regional Park Authority will continue to invest to ensure that they go from strength to strength, delivering real impact for communities.”
– Shaun Dawson chief executive, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
updates & press releases
25 Jan 2024
GLL bags a brace of nominations at London Sport Awards 2024
GLL – the largest public leisure operator in London – has been shortlisted for two entries in the London Sport Awards 2024.

The awards showcase the best of the capital's sport and leisure programmes and providers and demonstrate their community impact.

GLL provides leisure and cultural services under the ‘Better’ brand. GLL's London Health Team scores a nomination in the Health and Wellbeing Category in recognition of the programmes delivered across London that tackle health inequalities and improve the health of local communities.

Judges were impressed with the evident impact of over 19,000 referrals from over 500 GP surgeries and other NHS departments supporting those living with conditions including hypertension, cardiac disease, COPD, diabetes and mobility problems.

The Healthwise service has seen high success in those completing the 12 week programme with over 80% of participants becoming more active, losing weight and overall improvements in their health and wellbeing.

At West Reservoir Waterports Centre in Hackney, the GLL team were noted for their nomination in the Enhancing the Sporting Workforce Category.

The Centre takes children from different backgrounds, teaches them sporting skills and provides entry routes to careers in sport and leisure – some at West Reservoir itself.

GLL’s Director of Operations Simon Sen said: “We are thrilled to be shortlisted not just once but twice in the London Sport Awards 2024.

“As a charitable social enterprise, we operate with purpose and exist to improve community health and wellbeing.

“To be able to provide employment too is the icing on the cake and confirms our position at the heart of local community opportunity.”

Winners will be announced 21st March.
The GLL team at West Reservoir Waterports Centre in Hackney were nominated in the Enhancing the Sporting Workforce Category
Credit: GLL
23 Jan 2024
GLL Sport Foundation Awards 2024 - applications close February 20
The UK’s largest independent athlete support programme – the GLL Sport Foundation Awards – closes its application window on 20 February.

Talented athletes from 65 areas across the UK are invited to apply for a range of support awards which include financial help, access to sport facilities, physiotherapy, lifestyle mentoring and mental health aid.

Now in its 15th year of operation, the GLL Sport Foundation has so far contributed over £14m and distributed 26,000 awards to support young talented athletes on their sporting journey.

The innovative scheme is provided by charitable social enterprise GLL and a number of partner sponsors and expects to award £1.2m worth of help in 2024 for successful applicants. Already a popular and essential support programme for athletes, the Foundation is expecting heightened athlete interest as training costs, equipment purchases, strength & conditioning costs and travel costs continue to rise.

All successful applicants will be given access to the 250 sport and leisure facilities across the UK operated by GLL under its “Better” trading brand.

Applications opened on 20 December 2023 and are available until 20 February 2024.

The award application announcement for 2024 was made at the York Stadium Leisure Complex which comprises the LNER Community Stadium and York Leisure Centre. Both of the co-located venues are run by GLL and now add their world class facilities to those that can be used by GSF athletes in training – including Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Copper Box Arena, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s White Water Centre, Ice Centre and VeloPark; and Manchester’s Aquatics Centre and National Cycling Centre. The LNER Community Stadium will be hosting matches for the Rugby World Cup 2025 as well as resident teams York City FC and York Knights RLFC.

Over the past 16 years, GLL Sport Foundation supported athletes have excelled in major competitions and have gained 76 Olympic and Paralympic medals and 77 Commonwealth Games medals. Previous holders of GSF awards include Darryl Neita (athletics), Anna Hursey (table tennis), Charlotte Worthington (BMX), Alex Yee (triathlon), boxers Anthony Joshua, Aiden and Michaela Walsh, divers Tom Daley, Matty Lee and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, swimmers Tully Kearney, Susie Rodgers, Tom Dean and Ellie Simmons.

It has always however been a core mission of the programme to support young emerging talent on their sporting journey, with the majority of athletes aged under the age of 21 and the largest cohort under 18 years old. Across the programme, 87% of athletes receive no other funding or athlete support, which underlines the importance of the scheme to both athletes and GLL’s social values.

Commenting on the closing of the application window for the GSF Awards 2024, Peter Bundey, GLL Sport Foundation Chair, said: “There’s still time for talented athletes across the country to apply for our awards and take advantage of a unique opportunity to reach their sporting potential. Previous athletes tell us the awards provide a lifeline to individuals who want to compete at the highest level as well as helping local communities discover the opportunities and enrichment that comes through sport.”

Applications are open until 20th February 2024 via the website portal – www.gllsportfoundation.org

GSF supported para tennis player Lily Mills, 23, from Islington said: “I’m really excited about the new round of GSF Awards - for all young athletes out there like me, these awards can make a huge difference to us staying in training and competing at the highest level.”
GSF supported para tennis player Lily Mills Credit: GLL
11 Jan 2024
Better leisure centres support Great Winter Get Together
Better leisure centres across the UK will be taking part in the 2024 Great Winter Get Together (12 – 15 January), a campaign run by the Jo Cox Foundation, which sees community events across the UK act as places where people can find meaningful connection.

The Get Together is inspired by the late Jo Cox MP and her work to tackle loneliness.

The free activities will include the opportunity to take part in sports and games such as table tennis, badminton or group exercises classes. Alternatively, visitors to Better leisure centres will be offered a warm place to sit and socialise, along with free hot drinks and snacks.

While December is often a time of busy schedules and making social plans, January can be a difficult and isolating month for many, with fewer opportunities for connection after the festive period has come to an end.

Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chair of The Jo Cox Foundation, said: “The Great Winter Get Together is inspired by Jo Cox’s passion for strengthening communities and improving the UK’s response to the loneliness crisis. Each year we are inspired by all those people who volunteer their time to organise an event in their community and thank them for their efforts, because we see the remarkable impact that these Great Winter Get Togethers can have on people’s wellbeing.”

Joseph Rham Customer Experience Director for Better leisure centres added: “As a charitable social enterprise, operating at the heart of the local community we recognise the challenges the cold winter months can create, particularly with utility bills remaining high and in the face of a cost-of-living crisis. That’s why we wanted to support the Jo Cox Foundation’s work and do out bit to help tackle social isolation and bring people together.”

Beginning on Friday 12th January and culminating on so-called Blue Monday 15th January, Great Winter Get Together events provided opportunities for communities to come together and make meaningful connections. The benefits of the initiative are proven: 97% of participants in last year's Great Winter Get Together reported improved mental health and wellbeing, with 78% saying they felt less lonely.
Visitors to Better leisure centres will be offered a warm place to sit and socialise, along with free hot drinks and snacks Credit: GLL
11 Jan 2024
Spa Experience has re-opened its branch within Islington’s historic Ironmonger Row Baths after a two-year closure
Spa Experience has re-opened its branch within Islington’s historic Ironmonger Row Baths after a two-year closure; the result of a devasting fire that ravaged the Grade II listed building in 2022.

A comprehensive programme of renovation and restoration is complete and the spa now boasts five new treatment rooms, alongside the fully restored thermal facilities. Visitors can spend time in the salt or juniper saunas, two steam rooms, ice room, cold plunge pool and feature showers. There are also comprehensive hammam (Turkish hot rooms) facilities, a relaxation lounge and new changing facilities with equipped vanity areas.

Spa Experience is working with Comfort Zone, Ashmira Botanica and Tea & Tonic product houses, the latter offering product refills to reduce the use of unnecessary packaging. Treatments will include a two-hour thermal experience £35, a range of massages spanning a back, head and shoulder massage at £40 to a 90-minute pregnancy Mama’s massage at £95. Facials range from a £45 Hydraglow to a 50-minute Sublime Pro-Lift at £75.

Commenting on the spa’s reopening, Melissa Evans, National Manager at Spa Experience said: “The fire in 2022 caused considerable damage to what is a Grade II listed building, however, following two years of hard work the spa is now open and boasting a host of new and improved state-of-the-art facilities. We are proud of what has been achieved and are looking forward to inviting our customers back to enjoy some top-class beauty treatments and thermal spa experiences.”
Spa Experience has re-opened in Islington’s historic Ironmonger Row Baths after a two-year closure Credit: GLL
11 Jan 2024
GLL awarded gold standard by Investors in People
GLL has been awarded Investors in People Gold status.

IiP is an international best-practice standard that recognises companies that commit to good people management and development of their people.

Used in about 70 countries around the world, about 50,000 organisations have attained it.
Achieving Gold puts GLL in the top 15% of IiP accredited organisations.

GLL People Director, Lorraine Patrinos said: “We are a friendly organisation that cares about its people.”

“Gold standard means we are independently acknowledged as a good employer – one that excels in creating an organisational culture that provides a clear vision for the future, values and develops its people and creates high degrees of trust.

“To get IiP Gold Standard is a fantastic achievement and caps off an amazing 30th anniversary year for GLL’s staff-owned social enterprise.

GLL Chief Executive Officer, Peter Bundey said: “I want to pay tribute to all our people at all grades - whether working in leisure, libraries or children’s services - for the great work they do, day in and day out to deliver the great public services our customers rely on.”

As part of the assessment for Gold standard, all GLL staff were surveyed this autumn and 200 staff completed face to face interviews.

GLL employs 11,000 people in England, Cardiff and Belfast and operates over 350 facilities from swimming pools and children’s centres to libraries and national arenas.

During Covid, GLL protected and rewarded its workforce using the Government’s Retention Scheme to keep all staff on the books for when the business reopened.

Recently, it has made a stronger strategic focus on culture and values and built leadership and management capability.

GLL is an accredited Real Living Wage Employer and believes in harnessing all the talents of its diverse workforce in decision making – including offering places on its Worker Board.
GLL has been awarded Investors in People Gold status Credit: Investors in People
02 Jan 2024
Woolwich Library secures European funding for democracy project
Woolwich Library - operated by charitable social enterprise GLL, has been awarded £10,000 from the annual Europe Challenge Programme that works to address social isolation and inequality. It is one of only 55 library and community spaces from across Europe to receive Programme funding.

From January 2024 Woolwich library will launch a voter engagement initiative, hosting community masterclasses on democratic participation and voter registration. Support will also be given to those with low levels of literacy and digital literacy, for example helping to fill out the forms required for Voter ID.

The library will partner with Woolwich’s Service Users Project (WSUP) a grassroots organisation that provides practical and emotional support to local residents around issues such as homelessness, financial hardship, mental health and addiction. Research shows that a high proportion of WSUP members are not currently democratically active.

Woolwich Library will also support WSUP’s art therapy classes as part of the scheme. The classes will culminate in an art exhibition, based on the theme of democracy, which will be hosted within the library when the initiative ends in September 2024.

Commenting on the funding award, GLL’s Library Project Manager for Woolwich Library, Patrick Malone said: “A healthy society is built upon high democratic involvement and the Europe Challenge Programme funding will help us to tackle the immensely important issue of low voter engagement amongst certain demographic groups.”

André Wilkens, Director of the European Cultural Foundation added: “Libraries are more than just houses for books; they are the lifeblood of European communities. They provide safe spaces, foster education, combat social inequalities, and build resilient societies.

“The Europe Challenge is on the frontline of breathing new life into European libraries. I am excited to see so many communities and libraries across Europe taking creative action to solve challenges and improve social and environmental well-being”.
Customer using IT facilities inside Woolwich Library Credit: GLL
GLL: news from sportsmanagement.co.uk and fittechglobal.com
With almost 20 per cent of the UK population living in the countryside, this marks the next frontier for fitness industry expansion. The challenge is finding the right model.
Mark Sesnan, co-founder and CEO of GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited), has announced that he will be standing down as chief executive at the end of this year after 30 years.
Mark Sesnan, CEO of GLL, has pushed back on Tower Hamlet Council’s decision to take the operation of its leisure services back in-house when GLL’s contract ends in April 2024.
UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) is backing research to investigate the lack of older adults accessing facilities for exercise and the barriers they face.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) has appointed Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) to manage its range of sports facilities on a 10-year contract.
Two staff were injured and Twenty Six GLL leisure facilities had to close their doors on Friday 18 February, as Storm Eunice swept west across the UK with devastating force and speed.
GLL: featured in Sports Management, HCM and Fit Tech magazines
Insight: Country life
Many living in rural areas are missing out on fitness, as the standard gym model doesn’t work with low population densities. Kath Hudson asks how public and private sectors can broaden their reach
While critical for business success, the challenges of ESG can be overwhelming. Operators tell us how they’re tackling it
Leisure DB has published its State of the UK Swimming Industry Report 2023. Liz Terry looks at some of the key findings
Tough times: Mark Sesnan
Thirty years ago, when Mark Sesnan conceived the idea of public leisure services being run as charitable trusts everyone said it couldn’t be done. Kath Hudson hears how he and his team made it happen
As GLL celebrates its 30th anniversary, its CEO and its founder look back at key milestones and share the headlines of a new five-year plan, as Kate Cracknell reports
Policy: Weighing in
Weight loss drugs are about to hit the mainstream, creating competition and opportunity for the sector, as Liz Terry reports
GLL
Address: Middlegate House, The Royal Arsenal, London, SE18 6SX, UK
Peter Bundey, chief executive officer
GLL video gallery:
Key personnel
Peter Bundey, chief executive officer
Phil Donnay, deputy ceo
Mark Sesnan, OBE, chief officer and special adviser
Key customers
Companies we work with include Annodata, Physical Company, Technogym, Change Please and Divine Chocolate.

Local Authorities and Agencies we work with include Greenwich Council, Belfast City Council, Cardiff City Council, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, LLDC, ukactive, SportsAid, SportsAid Wales, Mary Peters Trust, Swim England and Sport England.