Chesterfield Borough Council engages leadership support for its Leisure Service
Industry veteran, Dave Monkhouse has been commissioned to support and challenge Chesterfield Borough Council’s leisure service in delivering positive, sustainable and customer-focused outcomes.
The six-month appointment will see Monkhouse working two days a week across the borough’s two local authority managed leisure centres, in a bid to move the sites to a zero subsidy within the next two to three years.
As well as acting as a support service to the leisure centre teams on a day to day basis, Monkhouse has created a Gateway Zero action plan to drive the council’s leisure services to the next level and facilitate the move to zero subsidy.
Over the last five years, Chesterfield Borough Council has halved the subsidy the leisure centres receive, but recognises the need for a more commercial focus in order to make the facilities totally self sufficient, whilst remaining Council run.
James Drury, Executive Director for Chesterfield Borough Council said: “We are in a fortunate position, with two relatively new leisure centres – one is 10 years old and the other just 18 months old, which has clearly created interest and demand. Now we need to make the best of what we have to ensure we keep up with the private sector competition whilst still ensuring a good balance of activities to encourage participation from right across our local community.
“Dave’s experience and expertise in this field are really important for us. We need our staff to be engaged by the challenges he sets for them, we didn’t want a consultant creating documents in a dark room somewhere off site.”
The plan is based on actions that will attract the biggest reductions in subsidy, whilst enhancing the customer experience, including revised swimming lessons and gymnastics programmes, and the introduction of direct debit payments to make courses more accessible to lower income families.
Monkhouse said: “Customers buying into courses currently have to pay for a 10-week course up front, which can be a big commitment for low income families. The introduction of direct debit payments alone should have a big impact on the accessibility of Chesterfield’s courses, and bring them bang up to date too!”
Monkhouse, who is joint director of leading customer insight provider for the active leisure industry, Leisure-net, has worked in the sector for 25 years and is a Chartered Fellow and elected Trustee of CIMSPA. He assesses and trains for Sport England’s quality scheme, Quest, and also delivers ukactive’s Flame and Code of Practice assessments.
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Leisure-net Solutions is the leading provider of Customer Insight, Business Intelligence and Consultation services to the UK’s active leisure, fitness and cultural services industries. Leisure-net helps leading industry organisations, local authorities and Trusts, as well as private sector operators and suppliers, to understand their customers’ and clients’ needs and aspirations, and to deliver innovative service and health improvement initiatives.