Charity bosses are “devastated” after Dacorum Council voted to hand local leisure services to a private profit-making firm.
Councillors voted on Tuesday night to award the contract to Sports And Leisure Management Ltd – the only private firm to bid for the contract.
But Dacorum Sports Trust have listed a range of worries about how the move was handled, and what it will mean for local clubs and people.
Brian Malyon, who chairs the trustees said: “Despite numerous attempts to sit down to discuss the contract, and in particular Dacorum Borough Council’s needs, we were turned down. We understand the council’s need to cut costs, but would have appreciated the opportunity to work together to achieve this.
“These services should always be run with the community’s interests at heart, putting the health of local people before profit.”
Dacorum Sports Trust is a local not-for-profit organisation.
The grant it receives from Dacorum Borough Council has fallen from £1.4million to £225,000 over the last 13 years, and the trust was keen to continue providing the service.
However in March the council instead terminated its contract to run the leisure centres and athletics track seven years early.
Dave Cove, CEO of the trust, added: “As you can imagine, we are devastated. We have put our heart and soul into providing a fantastic customer experience for the people of Dacorum, and we now have 500 staff who are going into the Christmas period, uncertain of what the future holds.”
A council spokesman said: “In line with the legal framework for procurement processes, we are now in a standstill period before officially awarding the leisure services contract in January 2018.”