The Committee received a presentation from Shane Brennan, Chief Executive, and Anne Bren, Deputy Chief Executive of Staywell. Staywell were the Council’s contractor for the management of the Council’s three community centres. The contract had been in place since April 2016. The Committee noted in particular:
• That the 10th Annual Impact Report was available online and was a succinct version of their Trustee Report;
• Since assuming responsibility for the community centres in Banstead, Woodhatch and Horley they had preserved the existing services whilst conducting a consultation with staff and members to ascertain what services were popular and which could be improved or introduced;
• IT, telephone and financial systems and processes had been upgraded, increasing efficiency and leading to some financial savings; and
• The aims were to increase membership of centres by, for example, providing specifically requested activities, and for centres themselves to become community epicentres.
Questions and comments from Committee Members related to:
• Support and access for Alzheimer sufferers, in respect of which there was to be a meeting at the Woodhatch centre in a few weeks. The centres were open to all, but it was noted that if specific Alzheimer services were required then additional funding for specialised staff would be necessary. Staywell would liaise with the Dementia group that used its Banstead service.
• Each centre was different so the intention was to cross-fertilise ideas and activities from each. Popular activities included bingo, yoga, tai chi and dance classes. The surveys had identified that the food served in the centres required attention and this had been addressed by engaging a new chef, whilst keeping the prices the same.
• Specific aims included bringing more widowers into the centres and encouraging volunteering by younger people or the newly retired. Training would be provided for volunteers and staff would also receive training about working with volunteers.
• Increasing membership – it was noted that whilst Banstead and Woodhatch had in excess of 600 members, Horley had only 300. It was noted that Horley also offered services for children hence the membership model and use was different. In order to improve membership generally there would be wider distribution of the Staywell News publication and closer work with GP surgeries in the immediate vicinity of the centres. Members were pleased to learn the current membership numbers in view of the decline in membership from 1000 a few years ago.
• The relationship with the Surrey Reuse Network, which included Furnistore, would also be focused upon since at present the main relationship was with Kingston’s Furniturelink.
• It was confirmed that no data had been inherited from the previous management of the centres due to data protection requirements, but the new Customer Relationship Management system that had been installed would enable future monitoring beyond class attendance figures.
• It was confirmed that the contractual agreement between the Council and Staywell specifically required that there were no changes in the first year and that any subsequent changes would be co-designed with existing users and staff. There were no Alzheimer or dementia specific requirements in the contract.
• Resolution of transport obstacles for users was another key focus of Staywell.
Cllr Mill thanked Shane Brennan and Anne Bren for attending the meeting and emphasised the invaluable role of the Community Facility Centres in preventing social isolation, bearing in mind the significant increase, in both the country and borough, of people over 65.
The Committee thanked Shane Brennan and Anne Bren for their presentation and for responding to its questions.
The Committee then received a presentation from David Hughes, Partnership Manager, and Craig Parker, Regional Customer Services Manager, for GLL who manage and operate the Council’s leisure centres and noted in particular:
• GLL was a social enterprise and operated as a not-for-profit organisation which was owned by its staff;
• GLL was the largest operator in the country and its centres included gyms, libraries and children’s activities;
• Membership in Reigate & Banstead had increased from 800,000 in 20012 to 1.2 million in 2016;
• Additional types of memberships had been introduced such as junior memberships, memberships for those with disabilities and a GP referral scheme membership. Membership prices had also been reviewed for those in receipt of income support and taster sessions were available to encourage more users.
Questions and comments related to:
• Efforts being made to promote services, particularly in Horley. It was confirmed that GLL attended the Horley carnival with sample fitness equipment and/or free guest passes. The Community Sports Managers, for whom Craig Parker was responsible, were assessed on their success with hard-to-reach groups as opposed to financial targets.
• How GLL monitored and encouraged existing members who were not using their memberships. It was agreed that this was a weakness and improvements were currently underway in respect of online marketing and mobile phone text services for existing members. It was noted that the opt-in/opt-out permissions selected by customers would need to be considered in conjunction with the efforts to track and improve usage.
• Reduced Christmas hours, particularly in Tadworth. Following the meeting it was confirmed that the Tadworth Centre had been closed for training on 19 December and on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. On Christmas Eve the centre had been open from 7am to 3pm. GLL would reconsider these hours and aim to extend opening times over the Christmas period.
• Work to address obesity concerns. GLL advised that they had run a “Lose Weight the Better Way” initiative, which had been linked to the Council’s Health Action Plan. This had lasted 3 months with an annual membership awarded to the winner, who had lost several stone. The GP referral scheme included patients with obesity and those members usually started with a group format to enable members to support each other. There would also be a “Let’s Eat Right” initiative launched soon.
• Introducing the Healthwise programme to Horley. It was noted that a number of Horley users had been inducted at Redhill under this programme but it was agreed that the programme could be rolled out to Horley for greater benefit.
• The method of booking classes. GLL agreed that this was an ongoing and perplexing problem because no method would suit everyone but advised that it was kept under constant review.
Cllr Mill thanked GLL for attending today and praised the success of GLL and their improvement in membership across the centres. It was noted that a lot of marketing was by word-of-mouth and that the success in the north of the borough would also benefit Redhill and Horley.
The Committee thanked David Hughes and Craig Parker for their presentation and for responding to its questions.
RESOLVED that the presentations be noted.