In 2016 it was announced, to people's amazement, that the much loved and well used GHC (George H Carnall Leisure Centre) was going to be closed and the land developed, as it was not considered a viable leisure centre for Trafford Council moving forward .
A group of determined local residents set out to fight these proposals, to try and protect this most valued community asset.
A mixture of newspaper, social media, town centre leaflet campaigns and engaging with the public at local events, saw the gathering of over 5,000 signatures in support of the centre. This, plus the support of local elected representatives meant the campaign gathered momentum.
With a change of administration at Trafford Council in 2018 and many meetings with that new administration, it was decided that a public consultation would be held to decide the centre’s future, in May and June 2019. The result was overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the centre open.
Working closely with the council, it was considered that the best way forward for the centre was for it to be handed to the community to run. This would be done by way of a ‘community asset transfer’ (CAT).
The residents set up the George Carnall Community Group CIC (Community Interest Company). After many years of neglect, the vision of the group is to make the centre a fully inclusive community hub, for health and wellbeing, whatever the age or ability. To help achieve this, the board don’t take a wage and the CIC is a 'not for profit' company with charitable intentions, ploughing every penny made back in to the hub.
The ‘CAT’ was approved by the council executive on the 16th March 2020 and after complicated and extensive negotiations, plus a global pandemic, the centre finally opened to the public on the 1st June 2021.
Please support, use and enjoy the hub - it is for the community, by the community.
A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: “Trafford Council is delighted to have handed over the running of the centre to the community. The centre is now being run by the community, for the community. This will be an important community space and a huge asset to the local area in terms of health and wellbeing. Our thanks go to the Council staff and George Carnall Community Group members who have worked so very hard to make this happen. Trafford Council wishes everyone involved in the centre the best of luck with its future success.”
A spokesperson for the George Carnall Community Group said: “We are delighted to have agreed the Asset Transfer of the George Carnall centre for the benefit of the Community. We are looking forward to working with the community to develop a wide range of sports, leisure and wellbeing activities for everybody. The asset transfer team at Trafford council have played an integral part in achieving this and we thank them for their commitment."
Andy Brooks, the Facility Manager said: "I am looking forward to the challenge of developing the George Carnall centre into a thriving community hub. Our commitment is to provide a facility that will enrich the lives of local people through varied activities and events. A warm welcome will be given to everyone”.