Meeting documents

SWT Community Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 23rd February, 2022 6.15 pm


This matter is the responsibility of Executive Councillor Derek Perry


Report Author:  Stuart Noyce, Assistant Director – Commercial Services


The Community Scrutiny Committee is requested to note the contents of the six-monthly update for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.




The Chair welcomed David Greenwood and Mark Washington from Sports and Leisure Management Ltd (SLM), Everyone Active.  

The Assistant Director for Commercial Services introduced David Greenwood, the Regional Contractor Manager and Mark Washington, Contract Manager for Everyone Active who ran the Council’s leisure facilities on behalf of the Council.  Updated the Committee that the report came to Community Scrutiny as part of the commitment in place to report every six months on the performance of the contract. The report covered the period Aril-September 2021. 


David Greenwood and Mark Washington delivered a presentation on Everyone Active and raised the below points: 

·                   Had been working with the Council as their leisure partner for nearly three years but they had not been a normal three years due to the pandemic. Commenced the contract on 1st August 2019, almost immediately started on the agreed refurbishment programme for the buildings which ran until the end of 2019. The pandemic then began in February.  

·                   The pandemic limited what leisure could be offered at different points over the reporting period. At the start of 2021 a national lockdown was in place. From 29th March outdoor leisure facilities, such as tennis courts were allowed to reopen. Leisure centres were allowed to open from mid-April but with severe restrictions. From May could open up further and then from July could run the leisure centre as normal as all restrictions were removed.  

·                   Performance for April-September 2021 gradually improved over the period. In October there was continued improvement however, from November and December performance dropped again due to the Omicron Variant emerging.  

·                   Gym membership numbers had now picked up. Blackbrook and Wellington were very healthy in terms of membership, Wellsprings was not doing quite as well.  

·                   Swimming lessons are doing well across the centres. There was significant demand for swimming lessons following children not having been able to have them during lockdown. However, there were limited teachers in the industry and there were limited time slots for swimming lessons.  

·                   As part of Community Outreach Everyone Active delivered community walks. The Ruishton and Creech St Michael Health Walks had now resumed following Covid 

·                   The golf course and high ropes in Vivary Park had done very well and had benefitted from the number of staycations which Covid had led to. However, the recent storm had caused some challenges as a result of trees coming down but Everyone Active were looking forward to the summer and hoped to have another good season.  

·                   Have been planning for events throughout 2022 and would continue to organise more events. In particular, were looking to hold more arts and culture events at Wellsprings.  

·                   Most feedback received had been positive and actions had been taken based on feedback. For example, online booking had been implemented during the pandemic and maintained since based on feedback.  

·                   October was an excellent month but then Omicron slowed progress. However, January trading had been strong as public confidence increased.  

·                   Staffing was a challenge due to the national staffing shortage.  

·                   A new national chain gym was due to open soon in Taunton which could impact upon Everyone Active’s recovery.  



During the debate the following points were raised:  

·                   It was asked what had been done in terms of marketing to get people back into the gym who had previously attended. It was responded by SLM that significant marketing had been undertaken. Pricing of membership options were also lower than prior to the pandemic to hopefully attract new members. Had done some outreach work and were going to increase this to raise awareness of Everyone Active and attract people in.  

·                   It was asked if research had been done about the barriers to people re-joining gyms. It was responded by SLM that extensive research had been done. The rate of recovery following Covid had been relatively quick. However, some aspects, such as rehabilitation facilities had not rebounded so quickly as they were aimed at a more vulnerable demographic who were more cautious about returning after Covid. The pattern Everyone Active was seeing was the pattern that would be expected.  

·                   It was asked how events at Wellsprings were advertised. It was responded by SLM that most event promotion was done via social media streams and targeted those most likely to wish to attend. Big ticket platforms such as SeeTickets were also used for promotions and members were sent communications about events. 

·                   It was asked about the roof of one of the buildings which was in need of repair and who had responsibility for it. Officers responded that the repair to the roof was the responsibility of the Council as the Council still owned the building.  

·                   It was raised that there was a lack of leisure facilities in West Somerset compared to Taunton. It was responded by SLM that they were committed to the outreach programme, which included delivering activities in West Somerset. 

·                   It was raised that social media was not accessible for everyone in terms of advertising events.  

·                   It was asked if membership target numbers had been reforecast since Covid. It was responded by SLM that the numbers shown were still the same long-term aspiration numbers.  

·                   It was asked what the churn rate of members was. It was responded by SLM that about 30-40% of members had been lost during the pandemic but that most were now back. The Somerset West and Taunton sites performed at the same level as most other sites Everyone Active had across the country.  

·                   It was asked what the return on investment was for Facebook and Google advertising. It was responded by SLM that this was tracked but they did not have the precise figures to hand.  

·                   It was asked whether events and classes could be taken out to rural areas and about Everyone Active’s future plans for its outreach programme. It was responded by SLM that the outreach programme was now starting back up after Covid and would continue to be developed. The outreach programme relied upon local community groups’ support.  

·                   It was asked if there was sufficient staff to support the membership and, if not, whether active recruitment was being undertaken. It was responded by SLM that there were sufficient staff to open centres and there was not a risk of this not being the case. However, there were some pinch points where there were limited numbers of staff such as lifeguards and swimming teachers. Active recruitment was being undertaken.  

The Chair thanked David Greenwood, Mark Washington and the Assistant Director for Commercial Services for attending the meeting.  


The Committee resolved to note the recommendations in the report:


2.1 The scrutiny committee is requested to support the following recommendations: -

a) Note the contents of the six-monthly update for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021


Supporting documents: