GLL- Greenwich Leisure Ltd is a non-profit social enterprise managing leisure facilities on behalf of 50 UK local authorities. Its mission is “to make community services and spaces better for everyone and to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities”. It now employs 14,000 people, has 54 million user visits each year, and turns over €360,000 annually.
It was founded in 1993 when the London Borough of Greenwich was facing austerity in public funding and needed to find a new way to run its leisure centres. Together, the staff of the leisure centres and council came up with a ground-breaking social enterprise model for public services and Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) was born. Seven leisure centres were transferred to GLL and success quickly followed.
Over the following years, GLL grew to become the largest UK-based charitable social enterprise delivering leisure, health and cultural services. Operating under its “Better” brand, GLL manages over 270 public sport and leisure centres, 113 libraries and 10 children’s centres in partnership with 50 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations. Alongside its core leisure and library divisions, GLL also operates in sport development, health intervention and education, as well as running the GLL Sport Foundation, the UK’s largest independent athlete support programme, focused on helping today’s and tomorrow’s athletes, and the GLL Community Foundation focused on supporting local projects.
GLL provides a successful social enterprise model for the management of public services. The organisation has primarily focused on operating leisure and cultural services on behalf of local government. However in recent years it has also purchased major sport venues, a heritage-listed lido, trampoline parks and other health and fitness facilities, which are all fully accessible to all sections of the community.