Award-Winning Social Enterprise from GLL

Award-Winning Social Enterprise from GLL

GLL is the leading leisure charitable social enterprise in the UK. They are an employee-owned business that works as a charity to deliver social change and social values through charitable activities.

Established back in 1993, GLL grew year on year to become a strong organisation with over 800,000 members, 13,000 staff and 258 leisure facilities across Northern Ireland, Wales and England.

This case study looks at how GLL’s focus on Social Value and wellbeing helped them drive their mission to get more people active, more often.

Business Context

GLL's trading model is built on four pillars – Services, People, Communities and Business. Everything they do must address one of these pillars, and as a result, GLL ensures that they have a quadruple bottom line for their operations which ensures targeting of positive outcomes in all business endeavours.

As the largest public leisure provider in the UK, GLL also focuses on remaining the ‘beating heart’ of local communities. They recognised the need to innovate and modernise in the face of challenges and always strive to provide the best in leisure, fitness and general wellbeing for their members.

Put simply, GLL’s efforts to improve access to and use of leisure centres, libraries and children centres helps to promote a lifestyle change with long-lasting impacts for the community.

Sport and physical activity are widely recognised as generating added social value by helping to improve people’s health, reducing crime, increasing the attainment of education and thus employability, and improving life satisfaction overall, leading to better social wellbeing.

Innovative and Creative Solutions

Through recent innovation, GLL has incorporated new creative recreational activities that were based on the input they received from their members. The changes have helped attract users and non-users into GLL centres while addressing worrying levels of physical inactivity – particularly among young girls.

Through their ‘Better Extreme’ brand, GLL introduced climbing walls, skate parks, parkour and trampoline parks, on top of their existing conventional gym settings.

By engaging with young people through the Swim School programme, GLL was also able to raise awareness about their other offers and get kids involved. An example of this is GLL’s ‘Aquasplash’ programme which is held in large pools over the summer, giving kids the chance to climb, slide, run and race each other over giant inflatables.

GLL also sought out advertising opportunities to raise awareness, and they also run digital and social media campaigns that are designed to engage with customers and get people involved.

The organisation recently partnered with a double medal Olympic swimmer Keri Anne Payne on Facebook Live to promote swimming to the public and extreme sports bloggers to host a live Q&A.

Partnerships with brands and celebrities helped GLL reach more people and promote a healthy living message through a wide range of digital channels.

Business Impact and Results

GLL’s main concern is to get a social return on investment, meaning to improve the lives of everyone in the community by getting them involved in a healthier lifestyle.

In 2016 the organisation raised and reinvested over £350m into facilities and programmes for the community and is looking to increase this figure in 2017/18.

Why Enter the UK Business Awards 2018

"As we approach our 25 years in the industry, the UK Business Awards are a great way to celebrate with our customers and staff."
Mark Sesnan, Managing Director, GLL

Entering the awards is a valuable opportunity to bring your team together and celebrate your success. Not only that, the finalists receive a benchmarked feedback form from our panel of independent and impartial judges, and you have the opportunity to present your entry live to them at the awards finals in front of other industry leaders.

This year we have 25 categories aimed at organisations who want to shape the future of business and increase their engagement, reputation, and turnover. Entries can be from individuals and/or organisations, as well as companies who have partnered with other businesses to achieve their goals. To see which categories you could enter this year click here.