COUNCIL bosses have set aside a fund of £968k to help Trafford Leisure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillors met on Tuesday to discuss the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on Trafford Leisure Community Trust Company. Closures of leisure centres have led to Trafford Leisure losing the majority of its income and’ as a company wholly owned by the council it has asked the council for financial assistance’.

In April an £840k loan was approved to support Trafford Leisure for the first three months on 2020/21. So far £710k has been drawn with the remainder expected to be used in July.

A report said: “ At that stage the total amount of loans provided to Trafford Leisure will be £1.14m, including the £300k advanced during 2019/20.”

The need for the money comes since ‘restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus were brought in requiring the closure of all leisure centres. Income to Trafford Leisure has to a large degree ceased, with a low level of income from direct debits still received.

It added: “Within the council’s earmarked reserves a specific reserve exists to cover the potential risks associated with reductions to operational income during future redevelopment works at the leisure centres, as included in the leisure strategy. The value of this reserve is £968k.”

Cllr Tom Ross presented the report while Cllr Liz Patel said the plan would in the ‘short to medium term provide breathing space for an in-depth review of how to develop our leisure strategy’. The plan was approved unanimously.