Leisure and Culture

Leisure and Culture (December 2019)

Key Messages


  • Users - Wirral Leisure Services currently employ around 400 staff, with over 3 million visits a year to its facilities and 15,000 Invigor8 members accounting for over £4m of income. From 2016 to 2018, leisure centre usage increased by 14%. A commercial programme of income generating activities has been created with a designated Business and Commercial Development Officers assigned to bring these to fruition.

  • Marketing programmes - The website and Mobile App developments together with ‘Join at Home’ product (introduced April 2019) need monitoring to measure progress and inform future developments, with industry figures suggesting a potential increase in uptake of around 20%. The App has had on average 126,000 users per month since its inception in 2018 and the website wirralleisure.co.uk has had 1.1 million hits in its first year.

  • Key investment programmes - will assist in delivering £0.5m of savings; initiatives include the £1.4m redevelopment of West Kirby Marine Lake, the new ATP pitch development at Leasowe Leisure Centre, refurbishment of the two reception areas at West Kirby Concourse and Guinea Gap and facility refurbishment at the Bidston Tennis Centre.

  • Additional funding - Birkenhead Park received £20,900 funding from Public Health to continue delivering its Forest School programme into 2019-20.


  • Economic Impact - The creative sector is recognised as the fastest growing sector in the Liverpool City Region with Wirral’s 2018 cultural events programme resulting in £5m of economic impact. The Imagine Wirral programme resulted in over 250,000 visitors at arts, culture and heritage events in 2018.

  • Social Value - generated from cultural activities will be measured through procurement with emphasis on generating ‘local’ wealth in addition to this, Make Hamilton Square CIC, is estimated to bring in a social impact of £1.6m. The impact will be generated through the creation of both direct and indirect employment opportunities for local people.

  • Partner working - Wirral is the 2019 Liverpool City Region host Borough of Culture. The delivery of this initiative is overseen by the LCR Cultural Partnership and locally through the Wirral Cultural Partnership. Additional creative partnerships have been established locally including Think Tank Groups to network and share ideas.

  • Volunteering - Over 100 volunteers to-date, equating to over 300 volunteering hours have been secured for the Borough of Culture programme. Working with Community Action Wirral, Wirral Met College, Floral Ambassador programme and City Stars to disseminate volunteering opportunities.

  • Satisfaction levels - All events as part of the Borough of Culture programme have been rated above 90%, for visitors rating their experience as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’. This is an increase of 5% based on last year’s Imagine Wirral programme (over 85%).

  • Funding - A funding strategy has been developed to support applications for regional, national and international funding as well as developing commercial/ sponsorship opportunities, in-kind support Liverpool City Region opportunities to maximise support from the Single Investment Fund (SIF). Significant funding has already been secured including the largest ever Arts Council England (ACE) grant of £130k to support the Borough of Culture year.

  • Education - Wirral Met College announced the launch of two Degree programmes in celebration of Wirral’s Borough of Culture year. Working in partnership with the University of Chester; Wirral Met will be offering a Fine Art degree and Cultural Studies degree programme starting in September 2019.

  • Post 2019

    • Maximise the potential of Wirral’s creative enterprise sector as a driver for economic regeneration and community wealth building.

    • Deliver an ambitious, high quality and inclusive culture events programme which impacts positively on civic pride and outcomes for residents as well as attracts visitors.

    • Promote Wirral regionally, nationally and internationally as a world-class visitor destination which is rich in assets and experiences.