To receive an update from 1610 Leisure Services.
The Chair welcomed Ian Blythe and Ricky Hayes of 1610.
Mr Blythe introduced Ricky Hayes, Contract Lead for Torridge District Council who is also responsible for swim and sports development for 1610.
Mr Blythe thanked the Chair for the opportunity to update the Committee. He told the Committee that the lines of communication with TDC had much improved which meant issues were being dealt with as they came in.
An informative presentation was delivered, the highlights of which are detailed below:
· The highest ever levels of membership had been recorded, despite strong competition.
· Swimming lessons had reached their highest levels, which, in turn, had led to more interest in general swimming sessions.
· Fitness and swimming sessions still represented the major part of the business, however, exercise referral schemes (prescriptive memberships) now constituted 11% of membership and this in itself was a success story as this captured people who would not normally visit a sports facility.
· Further focus needed to be concentrated around special help programmes such as Small Steps and working with mental health.
· There is close collaboration with local schools.
· Although income figures were down, this reflected a decision to focus more on quality. Some programmes had been removed and savings had been made.
· There had been a change to the pre-planned maintenance contract, resulting in a reduction in cost but an improvement in services.
· The national living wage and the national minimum wage had put tremendous pressure on 1610 and staffing teams had reduced due mainly to natural wastage.
Mr Blythe gave details about the equipment at the facilities both in terms of enhancement and challenge; swimming promotions and the “Let’s Move” scheme which had been operating very successfully.
Members spoke about their personal experiences and the complaints they had received. Mr Blythe and Mr Hayes acknowledged the issues raised and spoke about personnel procedures, ongoing staff training and measures implemented to ensure that the expected levels of service are achieved and standards are improved. Furthermore, it was important that members of the public challenge staff about concerns (Team Leaders wear black t-shirts) and any complaints should always be reported as they occur.
Requests were made for more exciting inflatables at Torrington Pool and specialist lane dividers for Northam Pool.
An update was given on the filters at Torrington Pool – it was hoped they would be fixed on Friday 26 April.
The company’s finances were discussed and Members were told about the huge impact the Government’s pension scheme had placed on the 2017 financial results – 1610 had since exited the Government pension scheme. Reassurance was given that the issue had been dealt with and the updated balance sheet presented a healthy position. Furthermore, as a not for profit trust, a significant amount of money was held in the reserves.
The Chair thanked Mr Blythe and Mr Hayes.
Councillor Pennington recommended that 1610 be reviewed biannually. The Planning and Economy Manager confirmed that a further review will be carried out in 6 months.
Mr Blythe, Mr Hayes, Councillor Cottle-Hunkin and Councillor Whittaker left the meeting.