The Team

Sandra Dodd - Chief Executive

Sandra has 20 years’ experience in the leisure management sector having joined the business in 1995. She is a Chartered Management Accountant and has been a main board director since 2002 previously holding the position of Finance Director for 12 years. During this time she has grown Places Leisure into what is it is today; a quality leisure operator whose approach has been recognised through a wide range of accolades.

Sandra ensures that Places Leisure remains at the forefront of the industry, speaking at industry events and sitting on the UKactive and Badminton England boards to ensure that we shape the future of leisure and create more ‘active places and healthy people’.  


John Oxley – Chief Operating Officer

John has over 25 years’ experience in the leisure management sector having served his ‘apprenticeship’ as a Lifeguard, Instructor & Duty Manager. John held senior leadership roles in SLM including Commercial Director and Group Operations Director, until 2007 and most recently was Managing Director of Active Nation.

He has been a Director and board member of UKactive, a Bodylife Award winner, a speaker at industry events. He is a Fellow of CIMSPA and current Quest board member. He is passionate about sport and physical activity, is persuasive, challenging of convention but always with good humour.    

Carolyn D'Costa - Finance Director

Carolyn qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2002 and has been with the company for over 13 years, previously holding the position of Chief Financial Officer. She has considerable experience in financial strategy and management and was instrumental in the expansion of the business in 2012, when Places  Leisure (previously DC Leisure) joined the Places for People Group, resulting in the company status changing to that of a social enterprise.

John Bates - Business Development Director

John joined the company in November 1991 as a Regional Operations Director, becoming Head of Business Development in April 2004 before his appointment as Business Development Director in April 2016. He has a wealth of over 30 years of experience in the industry and is a Fellow of CIMSPA. He now leads a dedicated team undertaking the business development function to secure new leisure management opportunities including new build projects and the extension of our existing contracts. Last year alone Places Leisure had an unprecedented number of new site openings with eight new facilities opening and two new contract wins.  

Richard Millard - Partnership Director

Rich has experience in local government, leisure trusts and 25 plus years for Places Leisure. He works closely with many local authority partners, National Governing Bodies of Sport, partner agencies and funding agencies to increase participation in physical activity and improve the health of the communities we serve in line with industry strategies.

Rich is also a fellow of CIMSPA and chairs the Sector's Professional Development Board which leads on skills development and apprenticeships.

Martin Anderson - Capital Projects Director

Martin is a Chartered Surveyor with over 30 years experience of managing construction projects for both Private Clients and Local Authorities. Before joining Places Leisure Martin was involved in a diverse range of projects including town centre redevelopments, large infrastructure projects and defence projects.  He also has considerable experience in leisure projects starting with indoor tennis centres under the ITI scheme through to large private health clubs incorporating the latest spa and sports facilities and most recently budget gyms. His experience includes a diverse range of PFI and PPP projects. Martin’s involvement ranges from input into the technical aspects of bids through to managing the construction stages of all the major capital investment projects that Places Leisure undertake.

Tom Goodhand - Operations Director

Tom began his career as Duty Manager at Cleethorpes Leisure Centre in 1983. After a brief flirtation with accountancy, he started with Places Leisure (formally DC Leisure) in 1988 and quickly progressed through a wide range of operational posts culminating in his current role as Regional Director.

While in the position of Contract Manager his site was FIA FLAME Centre of the Year Award Winner 1998 and in the same year he was Centre Manager of the Year finalist. Tom has gained vast experience in managing change, including responsibility for numerous new contract mobilisation projects, several major multi-million pound site refurbishments together with closure of old buildings followed by the opening of new state of the art facilities.

During all of this he has enjoyed and suffered the ups and downs of following Grimsby Town FC… the only way is up!

Nick Brown - Operations Director

Nick has considerable experience of leisure management having spent over 25 years working in the Industry. He has held a number of senior operational roles including that of General Manager and Contract Manager, and has also worked in various Group Support Roles. Nick currently oversees all Contracts in the Midlands and North of England, and has been responsible for setting up a number of new Contracts – the most recent being Harborne on behalf of Birmingham City Council. Nick chairs a number of Client/Contractor Partnership Boards which are designed to ensure contractual compliance and that common performance goals and objectives are being delivered.