Contract readiness: Abbeycroft Leisure

Abbeycroft Leisure operates 12 leisure facilities across Suffolk and are now the largest not-for-profit provider of health and wellbeing services in the county. They provide everything from swimming pools to a Health and Wellbeing Centre and continue to provide a fantastic sports and physical activity development service. The organisation has grown since its formation in April 2005 through acquisitions and facility developments and now record 1.6 million visits from customers a year.

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Contract outcomes

  • Total contract value: up to £3.5m
  • Commissioner: Parkside Federation of Academies
  • Duration of contract: 7 years (with a provision for an extension to 10)

Project need

Abbeycroft has been seeking to diversify its income, but faced competition from well-resourced larger leisure providers including commercial firms. Abbeycroft therefore needed access to additional bid writing resource and expertise such as financial modelling, in order to increase their chances of securing contracts in a challenging market. This would also include help systematising their bidding process.


Eastside Primetimers was able to provide a bolt-on bid team for Abbeycroft, to boost their available capacity for the rigorous bidding process for public contracts. They drew upon a team of three consultants with finance, social impact and bid writing expertise. Support provided involved:

  1. A financial model to evaluate the risks/costs and benefits of bidding, helping them to focus resources on the best opportunities
  2. Recommendations on how to embed social impact in the organisation
  3. Theory of Change and a guide for staff to ensure a consistent approach to social impact across the organisation
  4. Production of bids in collaboration with their senior team

Following these new processes, Abbeycroft was able to bid for a new type of contract in a new geography, providing leisure services for an academy school in Cambridgeshire. This £3.5m contract opens up a new market and will diversify Abbeycroft’s income beyond its home local authority.

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How can we help you?

If you would like to learn more about this project or talk to us about how we could help your organisation, contact us now on 020 7250 8334 or at to arrange a conversation with one of our specialists.

Abbeycroft Leisure“The support secured through the Big Potential programme and provided by Eastside Primetimers has been invaluable. It has enabled Abbeycroft Leisure to respond quickly to opportunities by building a number of models that enable a better response to contracts. This has included financial modelling, contract documents, mobilisation and project management documents. Eastside Primetimers are also helping the Board and Senior Leadership Team with future options for growth and refining the approaches to this next stage of development” Warren Smyth, Chief Executive
Active Luton“We are very grateful for the support provided by the Eastside Primetimers team – it is impossible to overstate how much the support has meant to us and how integral to our success it has been.  Being able to call upon such a supportive, knowledgeable, inspirational and patient group of people has been invaluable as our trust seeks to begin engaging with the public health agenda” Helen Barnett, Chief Executive


Eastside Primetimers