Brio Leisure selected for Government guide

15 October 2018 

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s company, Brio Leisure, has been chosen by the Government as a shining example to others of how best to offer affordable leisure opportunities to residents.

Brio Leisure has joined a select group of UK organisations telling their story in this year’s prestigious Parliamentary Review, which highlights elite standards of practice in different industries across the country.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, said: “Brio’s inclusion in the Parliamentary Review is a great achievement and complements its effective relationship with Cheshire West and Chester Council. 

“Brio is owned by the Council but it operates independently and has a culture which is dynamic and forward looking. It is a vibrant, award winning brand which has become well established in our community. 

“Brio’s presence in the Review is testament to its staff who are achieving a high standard of service. Examples of Brio’s work are featured in the Review which demonstrates how sector leaders have demonstrated best practice in responding to challenges in the political and economic environment.”

Brio is based in Chester and operates leisure facilities across Cheshire West including gyms, swimming pools, fitness classes, team sports, and outdoor pitches and even track athletics. It supports the health and wellbeing of residents by providing services and working with partners to deliver specific health benefits from its ten leisure centres, and supports social wellbeing with a vast range of entertainment and events from its three entertainment venues.

It aims to help tackle public health issues such as childhood obesity, sedentary lifestyles and social isolation by offering residents services which improve their health and wellbeing. 

Specific activities to encourage exercise include Brio’s ‘Buggy Burn and Firm’ scheme. This is a fitness programme for new mums who are at risk of post-natal depression. It aims to improve their mental wellbeing by boosting their physical activity, whilst supporting them to meet and share their experiences in a convenient setting.

Mum Eve Stachowiak, 28, who was one of the first to trial the sessions and lost nearly three stone since joining the class, said: “Because you can bring baby along with you, there are no concerns over finding baby-sitters, plus you are in a group of women who are in exactly the same position as you. I’ve made a lot of new friends, and we share the same fitness goals but also can share advice on the children.”

Brio’s success at working in partnership is also highlighted in the report. It is working successfully with Vivo Care Choices, which provides care support services across Cheshire West, to the benefit of the community. 

Vivo Care Choices has moved some services into Brio centres. This has meant users feel more integrated into the community and are able to use dedicated services such as swimming lessons and fitness classes. Having their routine based inside the leisure centres enables users to feel less intimidated in accessing health and leisure facilities.

The Parliamentary Review is sent to over 500,000 leading business executives, policy makers and other relevant individuals. In recent years, it has featured forewords by Caroline Lucas, Lucy Powell and many other political figures. The Review's release was marked by an annual gala in the Palace of Westminster which was attended by Managing Director of Brio, Elly McFahn and company Chairman Anthony Annakin-Smith.

Elly McFahn, Managing Director of Brio Leisure added: “Brio’s inclusion in the Review is testimony to the hard work of our team. We want to make a real difference to local people’s health and wellbeing. “We know we have a key role in helping with issues such as childhood obesity, sedentary lifestyles and social isolation and we can help reduce the strain on the NHS.

“We are thrilled to be joining outstanding, creative and hardworking organisations from across the country and to be sharing the knowledge we’ve gained to help others improve.”

Brio’s Chairman, Anthony Annakin-Smith, added: “We are delighted that Brio has been recognised at such a senior level, endorsing the important work that Brio does for the citizens of Cheshire West.  We will continue to explore exciting new opportunities to work with partners such as the NHS and to pursue innovative ways to help more people become happy, healthy and active.”

Elly McFahn, managing director of Brio Leisure, Brio’s Chairman, Anthony Annakin-Smith, Brio's Chairman, Cllr Louise Gittins and Lesley Finnigan, Facility Manager for Neston Recreation Centre

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