Company’s expertise used to save community clubs from closure

Property management specialists, ECO Integrated Property Solutions (IPS), has launched a new division of its business dedicated to helping local groups reclaim their clubs and facilities for community use.

ECO IPS has recently helped organisations including East Bierley Community Sports Association and Blue Dogs RLFC and since identified a need for support setting up community facilities, from bid assistance to everyday management on completion.

In 2014, East Bierley Community Sports Association approached ECO IPS to help them take over its derelict and run-down grounds from the local authority with dreams of running it themselves.

Thought to be the only business devoted to this type of service, it is the brainchild of ECO IPS managing director, Andrew Walker, who explains: “East Bierley was a community desperate to hold onto and revive their sports association which had once been at the heart of the village. The asset transfer process can be long and complicated, but we successfully advised them on landlord and tenant issues, provided a facilities management strategy and oversaw the development of new changing facilities.

“Managing any property is an absolute minefield with many, often hidden, liabilities. But the ECO IPS team has managed everything from small community sports facilities to independent 750-pupil academies and a portfolio of more than 2,000 properties across the UK. We are able to apply that expertise and support to the hard working individuals volunteering their time to manage and improve local sporting facilities and provide peace of mind.”

The new community assets division of ECO IPS is offering funding and bid assistance, advice on feasibility and compliance, help with new buildings and extensions, project management and asset transfer support.

It also offers the option to mobilise and run the facility for as long as needed and the opportunity to take back responsibility after the mandatory 12-month defects period.

Andy Redmond of East Bierley Community Sports Association, said: “It felt like an overwhelming prospect when we decided to take the club from the council but with the support of Andrew and the team we were much more confident in what we were doing. They were with us every step of the way offering advice and support and still help us with fundraising and the club’s long-term strategy.”

Andrew Walker added: “Our aim is to help community clubs develop sustainable facilities to support their local residents and to ensure the next generation have fit for purpose sporting facilities which are run by a team of people we have coached, supported and equipped to ensure their building – their community asset – is future proof and sustainable for decades to come.”

ECO IPS, part of the Bellrock Group, employs more than 20 people from its offices in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and provides total property solutions to sectors including commercial, leisure, retail, healthcare and education.

For more information about ECO IPS community asset transfer services visit www.eco-ips.co.uk.

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