Our team

Salford Community Leisure employs a team of over 500 employees located across all our venues.

Stephen Hassall, the Chief Executive

Stephen Hassall, the Chief ExecutiveSteve is our senior executive and is responsible for the development of the organisation and the effective and efficient running of all portfolio. Salford born with 26 years experience in the leisure industry, he has led the organisation since its inception in 2003.

With wide experience in managing leisure and cultural services at both neighbourhood and strategic level, Steve has also managed services for young people and family support across two local authorities. His academic background is in Economic and Social History involving research into the local history of Salford and he has a management qualification from the Co-op College.

Steve was instrumental in developing numerous nationally acclaimed leisure schemes such as the country’s first GP Referral Scheme, the ground breaking multi cultural Pathways project and the Moving Up for Leisure project for young people involved or at risk or being involved in crime.

He has been on numerous national working groups looking at the role of sport in diverting young people from crime, and has spoken at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on this subject. More recently, Steve has been part of a number of national groups and case studies looking at the role of mutuals and co-operatives in the public sector.

Ray Higson, Head of Finance

Ray Higson, Head of FinanceWith 34 years experience in finance, Ray is responsible for Finance and Support services at Salford Community Leisure and is an Executive Director on the Board.

With a background in auditing and accountancy, initially with the local authority, Ray was part of the project team that helped create the Society in 2003. He takes a lead role for the organisation to ensure there are adequate financial resources to maintain and enhance high quality services in a challenging financial climate. Maintaining robust financial controls, he also assesses the financial viability of new opportunities that support organisation and partner objectives.

Ray also provides a supportive management role for company IT and administrative services. Contributing to the wider community, he also provides financial advice and independent review and audit of accounts for a number of voluntary groups including Friends of the Salford Museums’ Association and North West Health and Physical Activity Forum.

Garry Bateman, Head of Sport and Leisure

Garry Bateman, Head of Sport and LeisureWith over 30 years experience working in the area of sport and leisure in Salford, Garry started his career after graduating in Physiology and Human Movement from The University of Salford.  His first appointment as Duty Manager gave him the perfect springboard to progress onto further roles in Sports Development, Facility Management, Area Management and Operational Management all culminating in Garry’s vast knowledge and experience within the sport and leisure industry. 

He has a genuine appreciation of how vital it is for the success of a modern leisure business to be led by the needs of the customer and this is something Garry has felt passionate about since his early days in leisure management.  Garry was instrumental in the development of health and fitness in Salford, which resulted in the emergence of state of the art fitness suites in all of the leisure centres.

To compliment his knowledge and experience, Garry has attained a number of industry recognised qualifications; including an ILAM Certificate, an Advanced Certificate in Recreation Management (part of the Modular Masters Programme) from the University of Salford and a Diploma in Business Administration from Manchester Business School.

Richard Milton, Head of Music and Performing Arts Service

Richard Milton, Head of Music and Performing Arts ServiceRichard has been the head of Salford Music and Performing Arts Service (MAPAS) since 2001 and before that had a successful career as a secondary school music teacher.

A strong believer in partnerships Richard has worked with many organisations across the country to further the development of music education. This has included extensive work with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Halle Orchestra in Manchester.

A graduate of Salford University, Richard has forged links with the university and MAPAS. These partnerships have helped develop the greater Manchester music hub, the largest music education hub in the country which is at the cutting edge of music education development.

The senior management team also consists of:

  • Samantha Sandford, Corporate Strategy and Communications Manager
  • Rob Sides, Management Accountant
  • Kelly Harris, ICT Corporate Manager