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Top executive joins Life Leisure as chair to support continued growth ambitions

Life Leisure’s new Chair, Gaurav Batra is a senior commercial executive who will support the organisation’s plans for continued growth, diversification and setting new benchmarks in health, fitness and wellbeing.

The charitable trust and not-for-profit social enterprise manages sports and leisure facilities in the North West, and delivers a wide range of sports and physical activity programmes to diverse segments of the community.

The decision to appoint Gaurav, whose career spans many years of senior board and chair roles at the Bibby Line Group and within the Virgin Group, as well as deep expertise in the areas of corporate finance and strategy development, follows a number of recent high profile developments by the Life Leisure organisation.

The trust recently took over management of its first Cumbrian site, Life Leisure Barrow Park. The last twelve months have also seen Life Leisure’s acquisition of multi-million pound flagship facility, Stockport Sports Village (SSV). The same site, which has been under Life Leisure’s management for several years, had been named ‘National Leisure Centre/Health Club of the Year’ by leisure trade body UKactive during 2018.

Speaking about this new role, Gaurav said: “Organisations brave enough to take new approaches to big social problems - public health being one of the biggest of our time - are inspiring to be part of, and that’s what really drew me to this opportunity.

“From championing the use of ‘activity prescriptions’ and workplace wellness initiatives, to helping people play a more proactive role in their own healthcare and easing pressure on a struggling NHS, through to building sports training programmes that develop stars of the future (its Stockport Metro club producing more Olympic swimmers than any other), Life Leisure has already demonstrated many years of innovation and meaningful social impact. The challenges that Life Leisure seeks to address are only getting more pressing for society and I am excited about being part of the journey over the coming years.”

Established in 2002, Life Leisure employs over 500 people across its 13 leisure and sports facilities. Many of its sites have won awards for quality and community impact, including Stockport Sports Village, Grand Central (home to Stockport Metro swimming club), Houldsworth Village (an official ‘Centre of Excellence for weight lifting), and Avondale Health Hub, a site specifically developed to help inactive people, those with medical conditions and those recovering from illness or injury to increase their activity levels.

Life Leisure acting chair Mike Atkinson, welcomes Gaurav’s appointment. He said: “Life Leisure strives to improve the life chances of the communities we serve through providing access to activity. As a social enterprise, our profits go directly back into the facilities and communities we serve. We therefore have a responsibility to make sure we have experience, expertise and commitment on our Board that help us be the best we can be. With his extensive strategic business and board leadership credentials, Gaurav certainly meets that brief and we look forward to his contribution.

Life Leisure Group CEO Malcolm McPhail said “I’m ambitious for Life Leisure. We really want to be diversifying and expanding our offering to make sure we are in the optimal position to change the way people think about health, and to help promote public wellbeing by creating new ways for people to be more active, more often. I look forward to working with Gaurav and the rest of the Board to deliver these goals.”

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