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Agenda item


To consider an update on the work undertaken, future plans and performance of Leisure Services.


Ms Lisa Arnold, Leisure Services Manager, presented an update report on the work undertaken by Leisure Services.


The Committee discussed the ‘Learn To Swim Scheme’, including what the level of children using the scheme had been and the swimming ability amongst Blackpool children. Ms Arnold responded that the take up on the scheme had been good. She also explained that Leisure Services also delivered the school swimming service which was offered to schools for all Key Stage 2 (KS2) children, with most Blackpool primary schools having bought into the service. Ms Arnold also informed Members that the number of non-swimmers at the start of the school swimming year had been higher than the national average which presented a challenge. Despite this it was reported that by the end of the programme, attainment amongst children had been good.


Members further queried if attainment levels could be improved and non-swimmer levels reduced. In response Ms Arnold explained that the scheme required buy-in from schools but that a lack of funding made it expensive for them to purchase additional sessions which the pupils would benefit from.  Ms Arnold also informed the Committee that the service worked closely with schools to encourage the return of pupils in subsequent years who had not achieved KS2 requirements.


Members also queried what the scheme offered to schools. Ms Arnold explained that schools could book sessions for up to thirty-five children with leisure services coaching staff focusing on weak and non-swimmers while the school teachers and support staff delivered sessions to more competent swimmers.


The Committee noted that overall patronage had fallen and queried if this had been a cause for concern. Ms Arnold replied that the fall had partly been attributed to good weather during 2018 but that the number of memberships taken out had increased. She also informed members that there had been an issue counting customers to the ‘Feel Good Factory’ and therefore the level of patronage recorded could not be considered accurate.


The Committee asked what work was undertaken to help residents get fit and what levels of referrals were received from the cardiac unit and local GPs. Ms Arnold responded that the number of referrals continued to grow, with an increase of 5% over the previous 12 months, which included an increase in cardiac referrals, and that work with health professionals was ongoing.


Members queried if competition from new leisure providers, such as gyms, had effected patronage and if the Council could be competitive with them. Ms Arnold responded that although investment was need to ensure Council owned facilities were of a high standard,  the level of support to help customers achieve their goals and the breadth of activities and facilities offered by Leisure Services was not available at privately owned facilities, therefore officers believed that the Council could offer a better alternative.


The Committee noted the positive ongoing work that had been undertaken by Leisure Service. Members also noted that a Sports and Physical Activity Strategy would be developed during autumn 2019 and requested that it be given an opportunity to feed into the process.


The Committee agreed to add consideration of the Sports and Physical Activity Strategy development to its workplan.

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