Agenda item

Leisure Service Update

To consider the report of the Service Lead – Culture, Leisure & Tourism


The Service Lead - Communications, Tourism & Culture presented the report making the following points:


·         leisure was taken back in-house in 2020;

·         the team had bucked the national trend and were trying to improve daytime footfall;

·         there was a lot of competition, but the rise in budget gyms was now falling;

·         work was being undertaking on linking with other teams to meet corporate priorities;

·         there had been successes in joint working with GP Referral Schemes being nationally recognised, which saw over 200 people per week, with a waiting list of 80 and making a profit. There were strong links with NHS teams and the voluntary sector;

·         the staffing model had changed following received advice and research undertaken about what people want and need;

·         diversification work was ongoing for the digital offer;

·         there was a need to be cost-neutral, which was a challenge with aging stock.  Northbrook would come to Council, St Sidwell’s Point required updating, Wonford had proposals on the table and Riverside had ongoing challenges;

·         the team was still recovering from staffing changes;

·         there were just under 12,000 members with 47,000 pay as you go members. Attrition had also peaked with university students leaving;

·         work was being undertaken on creating social cohesion using the available space, such as the Northcott Theatre using space for junior sessions;

·         Active Devon were a critical partner for benchmarking; and

·         the net cost of the service for 2024-35 was £2.8million


The Service Lead - Communications, Tourism & Culture answered questions from Members as follows:


·         data had been collected from projects such as Pelican and each one was reviewed to enhance and improve accessibility;

·         data was also shared between teams, with Active and Healthy People looking at areas of deprivation and reach out to where there was no leisure facility;

·         there is potential to increase income as St Sidwell’s and Riverside had reached capacity;

·         the pricing structure would be reviewed for implementation next year, and would consider peak/off-peak;

·         the revenue cut had been difficult but would not compromise Health and Safety; There was no date for becoming cost-neutral due to the aging buildings;

·         most swimming pools generally loss money but St Sidwell’s Point bucked this trend;

·         junior and family options would be considered when addressing prices,  as current 12 for 10 didn’t apply;

·         there were no outcomes from the travel plan which had been worked on with the bus station. The report would have gone to Devon County Council but there were no final results currently;

·         the Council continued to encourage sustainable travel through green tourism and had arrangements with Stagecoach and GWR;

·         car parking pricing was being looked at to see if there was anything which could be done for members;

·         Northbrook was in an area of deprivation and was a fantastic facility, however it required a Member decision in future;

·         Riverside didn’t always look clean despite using appropriate cleaning chemicals. Issues raised at the meeting would be picked up with operational team; and

·         a breakdown of memberships would go to the Executive, but the highest was adult gym memberships, followed by adult swimming and then junior and swimming lessons.


RESOLVED that the report was noted.


Supporting documents: