Shropshire Star

Lilleshall National Sports Centre retains top status for hospitality despite challenging 18 months

Shropshire’s National Sports Centre has retained its top status for hospitality despite pandemic strains.

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The Battle Back Centre at Lilleshall National Sports Centre near Newport

The National Sports Centres in Lilleshall, near Newport, has retained its ‘premier’ status with assessment organisation Hospitality Assured, managing to hold onto the highest ranking available for the third time in succession.

The prestigious site surpassed the premier benchmarking score of 75 per cent, keeping it in the upper echelons for UK facilities when it comes to customer-led, service orientated, hospitality businesses.

Highlights in its inspection were the ratings achieved for its work on market and customer research, customer service excellence and leadership.

Lilleshall scored 77.9 per cent overall despite experiencing challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic since 2020.

Steve Nelson, partnership director for Serco Leisure’s National Sports Centres said: "In light of all the challenges faced by the hospitality sector over the past 18 months, I am extremely proud of achievements of the Serco team at Lilleshall.

"To achieve premier status for the third time in succession is incredible and hugely appreciated recognition for the outstanding service we offer our customers and the strong partnership we have built with our client, Sport England."

Charles Johnston, executive director for Sport England, said: “The past two years have been a hugely difficult period for the leisure and hospitality sector. Lilleshall continued to operate throughout the pandemic striving to operate our world class facilities in a safe and secure environment.”

“Achieving premier status for the third time in a row is an incredible achievement and recognises the huge efforts made by the site teams and partners to ensure all our customers continue to enjoy our National Sports Centres throughout this exceptionally challenging time.”

Working through the pandemic, the centre's teams operated under challenging circumstances alongside government-imposed guidelines to provide a safe environment for elite athletes to train for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The results were impressive with 25 medal winners.

The assessors were impressed with how the collaboration between all partners including Sport England, National Governing Bodies and the English Institute of Sport work in a harmonious partnership to achieve a once team approach.

Since the assessors last visit the historic Lilleshall House had also been transformed into a boutique style hotel with 29 bedrooms.

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