Agenda item

GCLL/Leisure Centres Update


The Managing Director (Gravesham Community Leisure Ltd.) took Members of the Community and Leisure Cabinet Committee through a presentation outlining the changes that have happened at Gravesham Community Leisure Ltd (GCLL) over the last six months, and highlighted their ambitions for 2023.


For the presentation, please see the link below:


(Public Pack)Supplementary - GCLL Presentation Agenda Supplement for Community & Leisure Cabinet Committee, 13/03/2023 19:30 (


The Managing Director (Gravesham Community Leisure Ltd.) introduced himself to Members and advised that he joined GCLL last summer, replacing Robert Swain. The Committee were presented with GCLL’s shared vision, and the following aims were raised:


·         The latter part of last year was spent evaluating the important aims for 2023. These aims covered not just what was important for GCLL, but for the wider community.

·         Continuing the working relationship with Gravesham Borough Council (GBC).

·         Post-pandemic, a sense of community had played an important role, and as such it was crucial that this is reflected in the shared vision.

·         Since the start of the pandemic, leisure centres have been closing. The Managing Director (Gravesham Community Leisure Ltd.) assured members that they were trying to avoid this by keeping the two sites commercially sustainable.

·         The two sites were community owned, with over 70% of the staff living in Gravesham. It was within their shared vision that this continues to happen.

·         GCLL were members of a professional network of governing bodies where they seek advice.

·         Members were informed about the make up of staff at GCLL. They employed a total of 158 staff; 112 females and 46 males.

·         The current attrition rate was 0.6%.


The Managing Director (Gravesham Community Leisure Ltd.) outlined statistics with the Committee and highlighted the following:


  • When the pandemic hit, there was a drop in attendees of more than 50%. Trying to get members back after lockdown was difficult. During the pandemic, GCLL offered members online activities, but the attendance details of these were not included within the statistics.
  • Attendees had definitely picked up, with numbers now showing over a quarter of a million over the two sites.
  • Swimming had been greatly affected by the pandemic, but they were getting back to pre-pandemic levels of over 2,000.
  • Health and Fitness was going in the right direction getting back up to 3,000+. They hope to be over 4,000 within the next year.


The Head of Operations presented Members with an overview of the changes that had occurred within the last year and explained that:


  • There was a national shortage on the recruitment of staff with skilled leisure qualifications such as lifeguards and fitness instructors. GCLL had engaged with governing bodies to work on a training metric so that training could be performed in house. This included first aid courses and swimming teacher courses.
  • They were providing fully funded training for staff, as well as apprenticeship schemes. There were three members of staff due to finish their apprenticeship within the next few months.
  • They were working on their work experience scheme, which had been running since the beginning of the pandemic, and as such, they were proud to be able to bring this back.
  • A new app had been developed. Pre-pandemic, you were unable to sign up without visiting the centre. Residents were now able to sign up via the app. The app would also send members notifications on cancellations.
  • The Sports Link Programme had more attendees in 2023 than pre-pandemic levels by almost double.
  • There was excitement amongst the staff and members about the new Cascades development.
  • GCLL used artificial intelligence to collect customer feedback. This predicted whether a member was going to leave the organisation and corresponds with the customer. If they were not using the centre, this would encourage them to come back, and members received notifications about their workouts.
  • Customers were able to leave feedback on their experiences gathered by a Net Promoter Scores (NPS). The Head of Operations noted that they were only concerns about the Members they couldn’t reach. If members were unhappy and left negative feedback, they were able to engage with them and find out what improvements could be made.
  • They aim to introduce pro-insight to make sure that all procedures were happening as they should. This included mystery shoppers using the swimming pools once a month and feeding back on how they can improve.
  • The use of Survey Monkey had helped them to analyse why members were leaving. The majority of the results reflected that they were leaving the area.
  • The biggest challenge they faced was if members opted out of all communication. If the customer does not want to be reached it makes feedback difficult to achieve. An alternative to this challenge was to reach them via reception desks and in house conversations.
  • Capital Investment over the next zero to two years would establish a continuation of investment and maintenance. With years two to ten of investment plans being based on GCLL’s discussions with GBC in respect of Cygnet Leisure Centre.
  • They had seen a big increase in utility cost, with a 70% increase in gas prices, and an increase of 42% for electricity. They were working with GBC to see what resources they had to lower these costs. It averaged at a £500,000 increase across the two centres.


The Managing Director (Gravesham Community Leisure Ltd.) outlined the ambitions moving forward and explained that:


  • In 2023, they intended to capture the digital world and increase their use of social media. GCLL had around 10,000 followers on various platforms. They share interesting content that they believe the community will like.
  • Communities Active 2023 – They have activities running all the time to keep them engaged and use the facilities. The community outreach was geared around the health and fitness membership.


The Managing Director (Gravesham Community Leisure Ltd.) and the Head of Operations fielded questions from Members and explained the following:


  • All staff have access to a training platform with over 150 courses. A staff survey was due to be circulated which allowed them raise opportunities for training and ask staff what they would like to undertake. This was not restricted in terms of age, meaning it would give them the chance to have a one to one with someone their own age.
  • In terms of equal pay, there was no disparity. As an operator, they were paying above minimum wage, and everyone had moved along the pay scale consecutively.
  • Group activities were any group more than two, and it was about making a space available for them. They asked the community what group activities they want to be held.


The Chair thanked the Managing Director (Gravesham Community Leisure Ltd.) and the Head of Operations for the presentation and report.


Supporting documents: