GLL – the UK’s largest leisure charitable social enterprise, was among the big winners at the 2017 Sporta Awards.

The awards ceremony – hosted at the Ballroom at Sheffield City Hall, celebrated the achievements of leisure trusts throughout the last year. GLL picked up two prizes, with its Management Academy receiving the Workplace Development Award, while gymnastics coach Karen de Sa was named the winner in the Outstanding Individual Achievement category.

GLL’s Management Academy (MA), is a GLL learning and development initiative which supports succession planning and enables business growth by developing professionally qualified, supervisors and managers. The MA combines the completion of a national leisure qualification (delivering all modules of the CIMSPA L3 Diploma in Leisure Management), with applied learning in a business context.

The MA also serves to pilot the new Duty Manager trail blazer standard using unique programme activities and end point assessment methods. GLL’s ‘professionalising the workforce’ vision is that all managers are provided with an accredited learning and career pathway throughout the organisation.

Lorraine Patrinos, Associate Director of Learning & Organisational Development, GLL said: “The Management Academy allows us to reinvest surplus into staff development. At GLL, 80% of our appointments are internal candidates, so the MA allows us to build long-term working relationships to home-grow leisure professionals and leaders of the future.

“We’re thrilled to receive the Workplace Development Award. We’re extremely proud of those that have taken part in the scheme, and of our team that help to deliver it.”

Karen de Sa founded the London Borough of Hillingdon Gymnastics Club (LBHGC) in 2010. This GLL-run club is based at Botwell Green Sport & Leisure Centre in Hayes, Middlesex and began life with just five members attending its first session, using a modest set of equipment. Within the first year of the club’s existence, membership grew to over 100 and began to offer a general gymnastics class, soft play Toddlers World sessions, disability sessions and a competing gymnastics squad.

Today, Karen, as Head Coach, continues to help deliver a programme for over 600 members, of all ages, abilities and genders – as well as guiding two entrants to a World Championships Gold and subsequent TV appearances. The club has already received high praise, with acknowledgement for its work with disabled participants – being named ‘Disability Club of the Year’ in 2014, by London Gymnastics.

Mark Sesnan, Managing Director, GLL said: “We are delighted that the work of our social enterprise has been acknowledged by Sporta. At GLL, we encourage all staff throughout the organisation to fulfil their potential, in the interests of their development and to ensure the best possible service for our customers.
“The passion and commitment of our staff is paramount to the success of our organisation, and we are proud to receive these awards, which reflect this.”

About GLL

Established in 1993, GLL is the largest UK-based charitable social enterprise delivering leisure, health and community services. Under the consumer facing brand Better, the organisation operates more than 250 public sport and leisure centres and 88 libraries in partnership with 50 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations. Better leisure facilities enjoy 42 million visitors a year and have more than 650,000 members.