Leisure centres

Bedford Borough Council has signed a new, two-year contract with charitable social enterprise Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), which trades as Better, to manage and operate leisure facilities across the borough.

Customers and staff will transfer to GLL from Thursday 1 February 2024. Find out more about opening times, timetables, memberships and more at www.better.org.uk from 1 February.

Please read our frequently asked questions about the transfer to GLL below. You can also visit GLL’s mobilisation FAQ page which gives further information.

Leisure Centres in Bedford Borough

Regardless of age or ability, you can take part in a wide variety of sports and fitness activities on offer including:

  • swimming
  • studio classes (including Les Mills)
  • gym
  • squash
  • golf
  • badminton
  • table tennis
  • climbing
  • kayaking
  • yoga

Find out more about opening times, timetables, memberships and more using the links above.

Transfer to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) Q&A

What facilities will Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) provide and operate?

GLL will provide and operate:

  • Oasis Pool
  • Kempston Pool
  • John Bunyan Centre
  • Robinson Pool
  • Kempston Outdoor
  • Mowsbury Golf and Squash Centre
  • Blue Peris
  • BIAS

What happens when? Will everything suddenly change on Thursday 1 February 2024?

We are working to ensure customers have as seamless as possible transition to GLL but they may see some minor changes to the way they book and pay for courses and activities because new systems will be introduced.

We are aiming to ensure any disruption or inconvenience is kept to an absolute minimum and that customers are updated on any changes at the earliest opportunity.

To facilitate a smooth transition and prepare staff and services, Bedford’s leisure centres will be temporarily closed until 3 February. Existing members will be communicated to via email once GLL take ownership

Will the opening hours change?

Opening hours are likely to remain broadly the same whilst there is a review with the new operator of the efficiency and usage.

Will my membership automatically transfer annually without any action required on my part?

Yes, you will receive an email confirming that your membership has successfully transitioned.

Will the new operator close centres or reduce the service?

No, any changes or closures have to be agreed with Bedford Borough Council and reviews are taken on safety and sustainability.

The two-year contract allows for the time required to review the overall leisure estate.

What process did the Council follow to find the right leisure operator?

We went through a robust and competitive procurement process, where all bidders had to prove financial stability, demonstrate a successful track record of operating facilities on behalf of local authorities, comply with legislation and statutory requirements, and meet the high standards and priorities to manage our facilities.

Who won the procurement?

Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) won the tender for the new leisure management contract. This will start on Thursday 1 February 2024. This is a two-year contract. To find out more about GLL please visit www.gll.org.

When will the contract be awarded?

We awarded the contract on Tuesday 14 November 2023 and the contract start date is Thursday 1 February 2024.

Is there a risk that facilities will close or change, or services will be reduced?

No. Any changes would have to be agreed by us. The delivery of services is governed by a robust contract and specification which sets out our requirements and expected performance standards.

Will fitness membership continue?

Yes. Your membership will continue regardless of who is operating the facilities.

Will children's swimming lessons continue?

Yes. All swimming lessons will continue.

Will booked courses continue?

Yes. All courses will continue.

Will regular affiliated club bookings be cancelled or changed?

No. All affiliated club bookings are protected and will not change.

Will employees lose their jobs if a new operator is appointed?

No. All permanent staff will be transferred over to the new operator under the same terms and conditions as required by employment Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE).

Do you have the power to penalise poor performance?

As part of the fair, open and transparent procurement process we have ensured the delivery of services is governed by a robust contract and specification which sets out our requirements and expected performance standards.

We have as part of the tendering process incentivised providers to increase leisure centre usage whilst continuing with vital concessions.

Will all locations be immediately open?

We may need some temporary closures for necessary improvements but we hope to minimise the disruption.

We will be working to ensure a smooth transition to the new contract for staff, contractors, service users and our residents. 


What happens after two years?

The contract with GLL will be for an initial period of two years, with the option of extending up to a maximum of five years at the discretion of Bedford Borough Council.

This will enable us to develop and implement a modernisation and investment strategy that reflects the future vision for leisure provision in the borough.

What is the current status of my booking?

If you have a regular club or group booking these will remain unchanged.

If your bookings are casual bookings these will stand so you will be able to continue enjoying your session but there may be programme changes made when the new contract starts but all users will be informed of any potential changes well in advance.

Can you provide an update on the status of my membership?

Your memberships will be honoured for the duration you have joined. There may be some administrative changes necessary if paying by direct debit in order to continue.

Will the SEND swimming sessions and other sessions continue as usual?

Yes these will continue where bookings have been made, any new additional programmes will need to be discussed as they would have been previously with partners and Sports Development team.

I have a birthday party booked for March, what will happen to my booking?

It will remain and be honoured. Customers may wish to contact the centre to confirm the booking details from 1 February, to ensure all details have been transferred over to GLL correctly.

Are there any planned changes to the timetable and opening hours of the facilities?

Core bookings and programmes will be protected.

GLL will be asked to provide a diverse and accessible programme for the maximise use of facilities and services these will be communicated with all users. 

My group has a booking at Kempston Outdoor Centre, can you provide information on its status? What about Mowsbury Golf and Squash Centre?

Group bookings and memberships will remain and be honoured.

Will equipment still be available at the gym?

Yes the operator may choose to improve where they see fit.