01-04-2016

Blog

Nicki looks at what we’re doing to ensure that your membership and visits bring you great value for money when you spend on fitness, sports and wellbeing. 

Value for money. It’s that elusive statement that all businesses try hard to deliver and all customers want to ensure they’re receiving.  Depending on where your budget lies this will mean different things to different people but the core principle is the same – no matter how much it cost, was it worth it?

pool355One of the overriding principles of Live Active Leisure is to deliver affordable sports and fitness opportunities to the entire community. In other areas this sometimes falls to the local council but in Perth & Kinross we are fortunate to have an independent trust run by people who are passionate about helping us all lead more active and healthy lives.

What this means is that although Perth & Kinross Council pays Live Active to deliver your local leisure services – think community campuses and local leisure centres – the majority of LAL’s income comes from your membership fees, admission prices, club fees, room hire and venue hire.  

Now, this is the bit that sometimes confuses people…  PKC does allocate a contract fee to LAL annually and therefore local government cuts can affect services in areas such as community campus opening hours. However, LAL is in a position to think commercially when it comes to delivering best value for money.

As well as making the business directors accountable and the management team responsible for strategic decision making, it also ensures your local sports and fitness services are delivered by trained experts, all of whom set out to build a career in this amazing industry.

So far so good! The flipside of the commercial coin can sometimes be a little less palatable however – it usually means that one individual or some very rich shareholders sit back reaping the rewards of the team’s hard work and your continuous loyalty. This is where the status of “Independent Trust” comes into its own.  A trust has charitable status meaning that all profits are returned back to the business to improve the equipment, venues, services and support for the benefit of the entire community.  It also allows LAL to tap into pots of funding such as SportScotland and get outstanding support from the Gannochy Trust for instance, which is why Live Active Rodney has state of the art gym equipment, Dewars Centre has Olympic Standard Ice and why Bell’s Sports Centre and Perth Leisure Pool exist at all!

Sounds great doesn’t it? I’ve painted it like its super easy for them but of course, like all commercially minded businesses they are constantly looking for ways to improve the service in ways that also save money wherever possible. And like all publically funded businesses they are influenced by local authority cuts and budgetary decisions. In other words, the best of both worlds also comes with the challenges of both worlds!

So each year when budgets come round the management team sits around a table and looks at all areas of the business – income streams, cost centres, free services, everything. They are making decisions about how much you and I will pay when we rock up to take the kids swimming, join in a spin class and sign up for a membership.  Then they look at what they can do to make sure that sum of money paid brings best possible value for us.

This is when they plan for venue investment, staff training, added-extras such as Members’ Rewards, community services such as Wellbeing roadshows and, one of my favourites, opportunities such as the Talented Athlete Scheme. 

contracts016 1I’m going to go back to my statement from the beginning - one of the overriding principles of Live Active Leisure is to deliver affordable sports and fitness opportunities to the entire community. This means when the team sit down to look at these budgets, their first priority is to you and me, our families and our pockets. 

I am blooming delighted therefore, to tell you that this week, LAL announced a price-freeze on their membership rates for another year, which signals the fifth year running without any increase.  This means thousands of people in Perth and Kinross will continue to stay active at no extra cost for another 12 months. HOORAY!

They’ve also held the cost for all activities for Live Active card holders (seriously, if you’re not a member you really need to pick up one of these cards!) for classes, gyms and swimming with only sports hall and day break dips seeing a slight increase. Other small increases include swimming lessons and sports hall hire.  In addition to freezing the price of their memberships this year, they have also included skating and casual play on the Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA's) for their 5 - 15 year old members.

I caught up with Jim Moyes, Live Active Leisure CEO and a man who has been with the company for almost thirty years. This is what he had to say about the decision:

"We are delighted that we are able to keep memberships and LA card holders access to almost all casual activity at the same price for another year, and even where small increases have been introduced we still believe we are offering excellent value for money.

As in previous years, our company is facing challenging economic times however, as the key provider of affordable sports and fitness for many people across Perth and Kinross we must first consider the impact on our customers and have chosen to look at alternative channels wherever possible, for additional income generation."

The new pricing policy will become effective from 1st May 2016.

Top Five Value For Money Facts!

  1. Live Active Leisure Direct Debit Adult Membership will remain at £30 per month to include access to 16 venues’ gyms, pools and classes and the fantastic Live Active Rewards scheme. More Here>>>
  2. Concessions can receive the same great value for only £19.50 and seniors for only £25.50 meaning we’re all looking after those who need a little extra help.
  3. Live Active Leisure Pay and Play card is only £12.50 each year with juniors, seniors and concessions receiving theirs free. More Here>>>
  4. Our team of gym instructors, lifeguards and personal trainers are all trained to the highest industry standards and all receive ongoing professional development.
  5. In the past five years we have invested over £2million in venue refurbishments, equipment and improvements.