This month Julia Goddard, Senior Business Development Manager, celebrates 20 years of service with Alliance Leisure. Here she talks about her long and successful career with the Alliance team.

What have been the highlights of your career at Alliance Leisure? 

The people; from Sarah, who gave me the opportunity to join the company in 2002, through to the many colleagues who have joined the company over the last two decades.  There have also been many projects I have been proud of:

  • Completing my first large development which involved refurbishing four sites for Monmouthshire County Council in 2004 – a client I’m still working with today.
  • Winning the Development Partner Framework for Flintshire Council and then delivering £6m of refurbishment at Deeside Leisure Centre in 2010
  • Being awarded the first UK Leisure Framework in 2017 which was hard work with most of the summer of 2016 spent writing the bid. The last three days were spent in the office with Paul Cluett, Kelly Anderson-Kaye and John Leaver, working till the early hours of the morning with the odd Chinese being delivered. We finished at 3am ahead of the 12-noon submission deadline.
  • Delivering my first new build with Jamie Groves at Denbighshire Leisure (SC2) in 2018

How has your role evolved over the last 20 years?

In the early days Alliance was a small team of 6 to 10 colleagues and we were developing £200,000 – £1m projects, while TA6 had multiple partnership clients. I started running my region in 2002 with just Sarah Watts and spent most days travelling the country and meeting clients. As Alliance expanded (we now have over 35 employees and our projects are up to circa £35m), we’ve had to develop our governance and processes, and I now have a team to help deliver the region – Will Gardner, Gillian Dunster alongside Paul and Sarah. We have a strong head office team also to provide the legal and financial support and TA6 to ensure each project is a success. And we are expanding again with another team member joining Will and Gillian soon. I still deliver projects, but today my role also involves managing and supporting Will and Gillian and mentoring other colleagues in the business.

Why do you think you’ve you stayed so long?

I can genuinely say I get up every morning and look forward to my day. When I started with Alliance, we were involved in small, predominantly fitness refurbishments, but over time we’ve taken on larger schemes and the sheer variety of projects (indoor and outdoor play, fitness, spa, café’s, zip wires, outdoor pitches, outdoor gym) plus the learning on the job has kept the role interesting, challenging and fun. Every project has been different and together with the wider ALS team our region has delivered over 90 projects at a value of more than £115m.

I first met Sarah in 1993 when she became my manager at Bristol City Council and consider myself very fortunate that she offered me the opportunity to join Alliance. She’s unique; a great boss and a great friend. I’m lucky to work with such a fantastic group of people –  Alliance is my second family.

What has been the most challenging time over last 20 years? 

Probably writing the bid for the UK Leisure Framework in 2016. It was all absorbing for six weeks and it was during the school summer holidays, so I had my children to juggle as well as my day job. 

What’s your most memorable project?

It has to be Deeside Leisure Centre. It was 2008 and was by far the largest project Alliance had delivered at the time. It involved creating six 5-a-side 3G pitches, a large gym, an assisted-exercise suite, studios, café, spa and the conversion of an old ice rink into the largest indoor wooden skatepark in Wales. The queues outside the skatepark on opening day were amazing.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The flexibility to work around other commitments which was very appreciated when my children were young.

The variety of the job is great and I love having the freedom to just get on with it, knowing support is always there if I need it. And of course, seeing projects complete is always a positive.

How do you spend your spare time?

Being a mum, socialising with friends, playing Racketball & Padel Tennis at least two to three times a week and walking with friends and our lockdown addition ‘Yoda’ the Border Collie.

Alliance Leisure is developing some amazing leisure facilities. How do you see public leisure provision evolving over the next 20 years?

I think facilities will become less sport and more leisure orientated in line with the wider wellness, health and physical activity agenda. I’d like to see the health sector embrace the benefits that leisure centres offer more and prescribe exercise / healthy eating instead of pills when appropriate. It’s been a great journey and I’m excited about the next chapter of my career with Alliance.

Meet the rest of the team