Nick Neale, former CEO at Bridport & West Dorset Sports Trust, became a self employed leisure consultant following a successful 16-year stint at Bridport Leisure Centre. As an experienced consultant Neale has worked with a wide spectrum of facilities, from leisure centres and holiday parks to golf courses, theatres and town halls, delivering audits across health and safety, Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI), pool and environmental issues, as well as helping operators to implement quality systems and energy efficiency protocols.
He said: “The pressures local authorities face to reduce their budgets creates enormous and often unrealistic challenges for leisure operators. How many more facilities will have to shut before something is done? With that in mind I am looking forward to supporting clients across the leisure spectrum, helping them to achieve quality improvements in what they do, which demonstrate and reinforce the impact and value of local authority leisure services.”
Neale started his career as a lifeguard on Brighton beach before spending 15 years at a Kent leisure centre, working his way up from recreation assistant to operations manager, before returning to the West Country where he grew up to take up the position of Bridport Leisure Centre CEO. However, Neale has been working as an associate leisure consultant for the last 20 years in his role as a Lead Quest Assessor for the South West of England, as well as carrying out project work for UKActive and other organisations.
When it comes to sport, Neale labels himself a ‘jack of all trades master of none’, but plays squash and racketball, as well as cycling and sailing. However, his real interest is the promotion of health and wellbeing and encouraging participation. “Creating links with local CCGs is possibly the biggest nut to crack and in Bridport I was lucky enough to work with a fantastic locally-led group called Living Tree, where cancer rehabilitation scheme, Stepping Out, was developed offering exercise and ‘education’,” he said. “On all my travels I have yet to see a scheme that replicates this. I am interested in how sport can bring people from all walks of life together. There’s so much evidence to prove how exercise improves mental and physical wellbeing, it seems ironic there isn’t a greater emphasis on this in Government policy.
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