The picture is very complex. Like the wider leisure sector, LiveWire has been under a lot of pressure due to legacy impacts of COVID, legislation changes to VAT and the allocation of subsidy grants, changing customer habits and the sheer cost of keeping services running. Heating swimming pools, for example, is far more expensive than it used to be, due to high energy prices that we have all seen through our own household bills. According to Community Leisure UK in February 2023, half of the UK’s community swimming pools face closure or service cuts due to increasing energy prices.
These challenges facing LiveWire make it extremely difficult for it to continue to deliver Warrington’s much-valued leisure, libraries and lifestyle services. It is for these reasons that we need to deliver these services in a different way, preserving them for residents into the future.
We are proud of the valuable work LiveWire has done in delivering first class leisure, libraries and lifestyles services over the past decade. Since its inception in 2012, the company has achieved a year-on-year increase in leisure participation, and this continued until the introduction of coronavirus restrictions.
It has consistently delivered good quality services, with key projects being recognised as a national and international exemplar of good practice.
The development of our community hubs has been particularly successful, bringing leisure, library, health and community services under the one roof, and leading the way on inclusion in areas such as physical accessibility and dementia friendly design. LiveWire has also done some fantastic work – through our borough-wide modernisation programme – to bring people back into our libraries.
We are proud of the exceptional work LiveWire colleagues have done since its inception in 2012, and are equally thankful for the strong and decisive leadership of its Board of Directors.