SCHOOLS in the Cotswold’s have officially taken charge of their on-site leisure centres after a successful transfer of ownership of two centres from Cotswold District Council earlier this week.

On Monday CDC transferred ownership and management of its two remaining leisure centres, at Farmor’s School, in Fairford, and Sir William Romney’s School, in Tetbury, to new companies set up by each school.

The council has agreed to pay a grant to the schools to support both leisure centres over six years. All relevant staff employed by the council will transfer to the new companies.

CDC Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said it was a win-win situation. “The council will save money for tax payers and the public will still be able to enjoy excellent leisure facilities.

“We are confident that the two companies will do an excellent job running the leisure centres at Fairford and Tetbury and we believe that they will continue to provide quality, affordable services,” he said.

The transfer by the council of most of its leisure centres to activity brand Everyone Active took place in July last year.

Leisure and cultural services in the Cotswold’s were losing a combined total of over £610,000 a year, despite one report showing they were well run. Now the council has made significant changes to ownership of the leisure centres, it will save around £300,000 per year.

Headteacher at Farmor’s Matthew Evans said the school was looking forward to the challenges that Farmor’s Sports Centre would bring.

“We’re starting to put together a business plan to look at how the centre is run and how it could be improved. We now have control over the services on offer and, as a school, we can use the facilities to find a balance between the school and community.”

Head teacher at Sir William Romney’s School, Steven Mackay, added: “We will be working with the local community and encouraging them to play a big part in the success of this new venture. We are very excited about the future and we have plans to make immediate improvements to the leisure centre, with some of these being in place in January 2014.”

Cllr Barry Gibbs attended the hand-over event at both schools earlier this week and said he was delighted to see the schools take over the leisure centres.

“The more the community is involved the better,” he said.

“These will become a community facility rather than a council facility and the community will start to feel like the centre belongs to them.”