New Chair promises bright future for Trust
Published on 19th October 2012
The new Chair of Trustees for the Sentinel Leisure Trust has spoken of his optimism for the future following his appointment to the Board last week.
He has also moved to reassure Waveney taxpayers that a £300,000 investment provided to the Trust will be repaid in full to Waveney District Council.
Andrew Wilson-Sutter, formerly the general manager of the Council's operational partners Waveney Norse, is leading a new five-person Board of Trustees. They have been tasked with driving Sentinel's leisure operations forward by securing the long-term future of the Trust and this will be achieved with interim operational support from Waveney District Council. Meanwhile, Trust Chief Executive Victoria Beck has departed the organisation.
Mr Wilson-Sutter said: "A huge amount of positive things have been achieved in the past 18 months across all of the Waveney Leisure Services operated by Sentinel including the whole scale improvements to the Waterlane leisure centre and the fantastic range of facilities now on offer throughout Waveney via the Trust. However the task now is to ensure that Waterlane, its brilliant flagship venue, is operated effectively and efficiently to secure a viable and sustainable future for present users and generations to come.
"I am really pleased to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Waveney and I'm fully committed to taking Sentinel Leisure Trust forward into a new phase, with improved services In order to help get the Sentinel Business Model back to a position of strength the Trust has asked Waveney DC to provide interim management arrangements and additional financial support during this transitional period."
Mr Wilson-Sutter also sought to reassure the people of Waveney that additional public money beyond the existing contractual arrangements would not be propping up the trust.
He said: "As people may have read this morning, the Council have agreed a supplementary budget of up to £300,000 for the Trust to address some immediate cashflow issues, however I would like to make absolutely clear that any revised business plan will include the repayment of this money to the council. This money is there to support the Trust on an interim basis and I know that the Council simply would not consider providing that sum of money if it was not to be paid back."
David Gallagher, a former manager of the leisure centre, and now head of Commercial partnerships and Strategic Commissioning at Waveney, is delighted with the appointment of Mr Wilson-Sutter. He said: "We have a really strong team in place now and I am confident that the major issues faced by Sentinel are now in the past. A full review of the business model will not be achieved overnight, however by stepping in now and making strong, business-focused decisions, we have stemmed the tide.
"We have a fantastic leisure facilities in Waveney, and we also have brilliant staff who continue to work tirelessly despite the concerns of recent months. They, and our customers, deserve the very best and that is what I am confident we can now deliver."
Mr Wilson-Sutter is joined on the Board by Keith Ibbertson, a former Metropolitan Police Officer and Jamie Starling a former Waveney Councillor with considerable audit and risk experience. Two trustees remain from the previous board - Tess Gandy and Kathleen Grant.