Sports clubs returning as city council works with University to reopen facilities

Gloucester City Council and the University of Gloucestershire are working together to reopen the city’s leisure facilities following the recent announcement by Aspire.

The leisure facilities are being reopened on a phased basis over the next few weeks until a new provider is appointed to take on the service.

From Monday, October 16, the University is set to return the Arena and its pitches to normal opening hours. Although the Arena had quickly reopened for teaching and training as well as matches for students and schools, it has since been closed to the public.

But the University is now able to honour existing bookings at the Arena and its 3G football and 4G rugby pitches, after putting in place additional staffing and arrangements.

Aspire announced it could no longer continue to run the services at the end of September and the council has been working with partners contacting local sporting organisations to help them access facilities.

The council’s 2G and 3G pitches are now open for prebooked matches, with rugby, football and hockey games all taking place.

This weekend the Park Run is set to return to Oxstalls, with grass pitch bookings for adult and youth football clubs already resumed. Existing bookings for the University’s 3G and 4G football and rugby pitches will also go ahead.

Director of Sport and Wellbeing at University of Gloucestershire, Matt Tansley, said: “Like everyone else, the news that Aspire Sports and Cultural Trust had gone into liquidation came as a huge shock. Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by this news at this difficult time. The University takes seriously its commitment to supporting community wellbeing, and as such, we have moved quickly with Gloucester City Council to re-open our Arena and other facilities at Oxstalls and Plock Court for community use.

“We are looking forward to seeing the pitches and facilities filled with young people playing netball, hockey, football and rugby again, and sports teams and people of all ages training and taking part in sports activities in our facilities. We are working hard to make that a great experience, but it will take time to get things right as we adapt to taking over the running of these facilities. In the coming weeks, we’ll be inviting clubs to meetings to discuss their requirements and provide feedback as we get back to a regular timetable.”

Councilor Andy Lewis, cabinet member for Culture and Leisure at Gloucester City Council, said: “We know the announcement from the Aspire Trust was a huge blow to local people and our sports community and we shared that concern and disappointment. We’ve been working flat out over the last two weeks alongside our partners and talking to local clubs to see how quickly we can get them back in for matches and training. Our key priority is now finding a new provider to take on the services and opening the facilities as soon as possible so that the public can return.”

Clubs with existing bookings from Monday, should e-mail to confirm more details here. More information about arrangements and facilities. For queries about events booked at the Arena, email

For the latest information on the reopening of the city’s leisure facilities.