Aneurin Leisure Trust

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Aneurin Leisure Trust's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Aneurin Leisure Trust is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Anthony Hughes, managing
Ebbw Vale Sports
Aneurin Leisure delivers a wide range of well-being services
to promote healthy lifestyles across the whole of Blaenau
Gwent, a former powerhouse of heavy industry in Wales.
Working with multiple partners including the health, education
and social services sectors as well as private sector organisations
is complex but commonplace for Aneurin Leisure.
Centred in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Aneurin Leisure is a
vibrant and community-focused charity that has been designed to address individual
lifestyles and both physical and mental well-being issues. Services are delivered across
sectors including sport and fitness, culture, community learning and hospitality. 
The managing director of Aneurin Leisure, Anthony Hughes, says that while it
delivers a range of well-being services, one area of Aneurin Leisure’s growth is in the
outdoor adventure market. Here, an increasingly exciting mix of both land and water-
based family activities is being offered to attract both local and regional customers
from across the southeast Wales region and south of Birmingham area. Activities
include paddle boarding, kayaking, paragliding, archery and rock climbing. There
has been an increase in activities to generate new experiences for people and short
break holidays across the UK in recent years and these areas will be a key focus.
The Cardiff City Deal and Metro investment across southeast Wales will also
enhance Aneurin Leisure’s ambition. The City Deal comprises an investment
programme of £1.2billion into the regional economy, including £734m for the
creation of a southeast Wales Metro transport scheme. A Regional Cabinet will
oversee the projects to improve transport, digital networks, developing skills and
supporting enterprise and business growth.
»Managing director:
Anthony Hughes
»Established as a charitable
trust in 2014
»Based in Blaenau Gwent,
South Wales
»Provider of well-being services
»No. of employees: 237
»Income from activities:
£3.7million in2017/18
»Council management fee:
£3.3 million in 2017/18
»Grants received: £1.7 million
in 2017/18
»2,066,543 people visited our
venues in 2017/18
Aneurin Leisure
Highlighting best practice
Early successes
Aneurin Leisure was created with
some urgency in 2014, with a 20-year
contract from Blaenau Gwent county
borough council to deliver its leisure
services portfolio across a range of
sports centres, libraries, a theatre, 340-
acre country park and grade II listed
house. The start-up brought a host
of challenges including the successful
transfer (TUPE) of over 300 staff from
the council.
The adoption of a commercial
approach and focused staff
management led to a reduction of staff
sickness from 7.8 per cent in 2014 to
a current average of 2.4 per cent. Staff
at Aneurin Leisure enjoy their working
environment – illustrated by the
Welsh government’s commendation
of our libraries as the best in Wales in
terms of customer outcomes, despite
increasing financialchallenges.
The delivery of the Working Skills
for Adults 2 project, backed by £2.7
million EU funding through the Welsh
government, in partnership with the
neighbouring local authorities across
Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly
and Merthyr Tydfil. The three-year
project will help 1,700 individuals gain
new skills leading to improved job
security and career prospects.
Playing a vital role in
preventative health
The post-financial crisis landscape
resulted in well-documented
reductions in local government
funding and levels of disposable
income. Across Wales’ Heads of the
Valleys region pressures exist around
job creation and this can impact upon
the lifestyle choices of local people
and investment in the area. Aneurin
Leisure prides itself on adding value to
the community by providing services
at affordable prices and by supporting
volunteering and ambassadorial
roles that create greater resilience at
Ebbw Vale library
Parc Bryn Bach
The Welsh
ofour libraries as
the best in Wales
in terms of
outcomes despite
For communities to thrive, people need
to take greater ownership of their
lifestyles and Aneurin Leisure’s work
around Community Champions and
preventative programmes such as the
GP National Exercise Referral Scheme
(NERS) will help achieve this. The NERS
scheme is a Public Health Wales funded
programme, developed in 2007. It
targets clients aged 16 and over who
have, or are at risk of developing,
a chronic disease; they are then
referred by GPs to leisure providers
who develop a programme of physical
activity to reduce the risk.
Ambition for the next five
Aneurin Leisure will be a pivotal
organisation leading a preventative
approach to tackling well-being issues
across Blaenau Gwent and making a
positive impact across the Heads of the
Valley region. Its services already provide
a key enabling role for children and
families to be both physically and socially
active throughout their lives, but more
work is needed to change people’s
behaviour towards a healthylifestyle.
While making this invaluable
contribution to local communities,
Aneurin Leisure aims to reach further
afield to surrounding towns and cities
by creating an exciting venue for
all things adventurous (be it family
days out or corporate team building
at Parc Bryn Bach). This will enable
Aneurin Leisure to grow the business
considerably and lead the change of
attitude in the Heads of the Valleys
through tourism and wellness.
Investment in both staff and assets
will be critical over the next five
years; increasing competition and
changing customer needs demand
the highest quality of facilities. Raising
the profile of the rich natural green
space around Blaenau Gwent and
Heads of the Valley region will also
be a key challenge. Finally, with such
uncertainty over the UK’s future post-
Brexit, we envisage future challenges
that will add further pressure to our
business. Maximising our current
customer offer and finding alternative
sources of income will help to mitigate
this risk.
Leading a
approach to
wellbeing issues
across Blaenau
Gwent and
making a
positive impact
across the
Heads of the
Valley region
Bedwellty House and

This article was sponsored by Aneurin Leisure Trust. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy