12.9 million visits and a new lifestyle magazine make it a Happy Birthday for BH Live

Bournemouth, UK – BH Live, the South Coast’s leading operator of leisure and event venues, celebrates its fifth anniversary on Friday 1 May 2015 with the news that more people than ever are getting physically active and attending events in its venues.

Launched in 2010 to secure the future of Bournemouth’s venues and leisure centres, BH Live has since extended its reach beyond the region to operate venues, leisure centres, cafés and bars in Poole, Portsmouth, Oxford, London and the Home Counties. These include the iconic London Aquatics Centre and Copper Box Arena at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Peter Gunn, Chief Executive, BH Live says; “In 2010, Bournemouth Borough Council embarked on a plan to secure its facilities for local residents and visitors in the face of financial challenges. As a social enterprise, we were in a position to apply commercial principles with a social conscience business model and began running the venues in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council. This has succeeded in getting more people into physical activity and engaging in cultural events, while continuing to generate economic benefit for the region. By 2012, we had firmly established ourselves as a leading leisure and venue operator and more partners were contracting us to run their venues and facilities.

Tony Williams, Chief Executive for Bournemouth Borough Council, said; “Partnering with BH Live has enabled Bournemouth Borough Council to maintain and improve the quality of the entertainment, sport and leisure facilities in Bournemouth for the benefit of local residents and visitors. Since BH Live took over the operation of our venues in 2010, participation in physical activity has increased, the quality of facilities and diversity of services has improved, and the cultural programme has grown year on year.”

BHLive_CEO_Peter_GunnBH Live is now among the top social enterprises in the UK, recognised for providing immersive leisure, event and hospitality experiences, in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council, Fusion Lifestyle, GLL, Portsmouth City Council and Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts.

A rich conference, exhibition and entertainment programme, with greater client and event engagement, has so far brought more than £204 million to the South’s regional economy through business tourism. It is also helping to create and sustain more than 4,500 regional jobs in retail, accommodation, tourism and transport. World-famous comedy and music performers include venues in Bournemouth and Portsmouth as regular tour stops, and more major associations and businesses are choosing them for their conferences, exhibitions and delegate experiences.

To manage this growth, the BH Live team has more than doubled in five years to over 1,300 people.

“Supported by partners, funding streams and a great team of people, we have formed new partnerships, increased our turnover and brought more people to our venues,” adds Peter Gunn. “We have recorded over 12.9 million visits to our venues and catering outlets, and our event programme has diversified to attract a wider range of industries and genres.

“£5.6 million has funded the development of improvements to our services and facilities. These include ALTITUDE High Ropes Adventure at Littledown Park and the venue finding and delegate reservations service, Business Events Bournemouth. We have also expanded our health and wellbeing facilities across the portfolio, and launched new Terrace Cafés and Bars.

“Through partnership, a strong team and growing customer base we have exceeded all expectations. We operate in one of the most active regions in the UK and have played a big part in making this happen – and continue to do so to the benefit of all our stakeholders – partners, customers and employees.”

To highlight its contribution to local arts, culture, entertainment and leisure, BH Live has launched its own lifestyle magazine to highlight events, activities and offers to interest local communities and visitors. LIVE! is published twice a year and distributed to subscribers throughout the region.

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