Active Tameside manages leisure facilities for Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

It provides a range of community services with the aim of engaging people in active lifestyles. The trust has been remodelled in recent years, with a shift to co-production and a new outcomes-based agreement.

Tameside Sports Trust was formed in 1999 as a single-contract trust serving Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, with a contract to manage 10 facilities and provide a range of community services involving voluntary and community sector partners. A re-modelling of the trust began in 2011, led by the council and in partnership with the trust, with the twin aims of:

  • maximising the role of sport and leisure in reducing demand on the health and social care system
  • reducing the leisure contract management fee in order to meet spending reduction targets.

The trust was re-branded as Active Tameside and a top-to-bottom business redesign took place, which led to the co-production of a new outcomes-based contract in 2017. Progress is shared and reviewed at quarterly management meetings which involve the lead executive member and senior officers from the council and trust.

This partnership work has positioned Active Tameside as a prime provider under new locality health and social care integrated commissioning arrangements. It is heavily involved in ‘GM Active’, which brings together 13 Greater Manchester leisure providers with a focus on working together to improve healthy life expectancy through physical activity. Tameside Council provides proactive local leadership, and both organisations are involved in the Greater Manchester devolution of health and social care.

Impact and outcomes

Active Tameside developed a strategy for 2016-24 setting out how it would deliver the outcomes within the partnership agreement. The trust now runs 18 services that span the life course, including services for schools, people with disabilities and older people. Many of these services reach into the community and to areas of disadvantage. For example, the trust supports 1,500 people with long-term conditions into an active lifestyle each year, helping to reduce their dependence on the health and social care system. In parallel to the service development, Active Tameside’s revenue has grown from a turnover of circa £6 million (2011) to an anticipated £10 million (2018). A joint trust/ council capital investment programme is underway. The trust has delivered efficiencies leading to a 20 per cent reduction in the management fee relative to turnover, with aspirations for further reductions in the future. The new relationship and charitable service model have enabled leverage of a range of external grants.

Looking to the future

The outcomes-based partnership agreement will continue to evolve in order to maximise opportunities to improve healthy life expectancy. The partners are looking at other opportunities, such as voluntary sector partnerships, to ensure that the trust can thrive in the longer term as the provider of high-quality sustainable services. Both partners are committed developing the evidence base to demonstrate broader social value, economic impact and social return on investment.

Councillor Ged Cooney, Executive Member for ‘Healthy and Working’, said: “I’m proud that Tameside commissioners, providers and stakeholders are working so closely together to ensure we can provide leading leisure, sport, physical activity and wellbeing services for our residents.

“Together we are co-designing and investing in services to respond to the challenge of increased demands in health and social care, much of which is down to an increasingly inactive society, in a climate of reduced government spending. This response includes radical new approaches to upgrade and sustain early intervention and preventative services to help get people more active and lead healthier lives.

“This work is an absolute priority and we meet regularly to share and review Active Tameside’s progress. Some of this work also feeds through to, and is monitored by, the Health and Wellbeing Board. Our offer is now one of the most diverse and inspirational across Greater Manchester, with both traditional venues and cuttingedge facilities that appeal to younger people, and should continue to make a difference for years to come.”

Key learning points

  • Build consensus with stakeholders around the need for capital investment to reduce costs, gain efficiencies and develop/sustain assets and services.
  • Create a joint understanding of the value of preventative services and delivery by leisure, including among health and social care stakeholders and commissioners.
  • Don’t be afraid to advocate a bold vision in what is a challenging time for public services in order to take advantage of the opportunities for progressive, dynamic and agile leisure trusts, working with their voluntary sector and council partners.


Mark Tweedie

Chief Executive

Active Tameside

[email protected]


Angela Hardman

Director of Population Health

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

[email protected]