Lockdown may have forced us into a new normal but a recent survey has shown that many Live Active Leisure (LAL) customers across Perth and Kinross have been continuing with some form of exercise on a virtual basis.
The survey, which garnered participants through social media and e-newsletters, had a total of 1463 responses from LAL customers, 86% of whom identified themselves as using a LAL venue at least once a week prior to lockdown.
From the responses, almost 400 people and their families had used LAL’s online At Home Hub, participating in virtual workouts created by the company’s wellbeing and fitness teams. A further 20% signed up for the free Les Mills trial, one of LAL’s long-standing brand partners.
Interestingly, 54% of respondents who have used the virtual workouts stated that they would not continue with a virtual exercise regime post-lockdown; with 56% of all those surveyed stating that it was important, or extremely important, that venues reopened.
Kelly Parker, Live Active Leisure’s Marketing & Communications Manager commented, “As you might imagine we are all working really hard to plan ahead for LAL’s post-lockdown services therefore one of the survey’s key aims was to establish people’s opinions around the reopening of our venues.
“We know that exercise is crucial to both the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our entire community but with new opportunities such as virtual classes and at home workouts, it was important to assess how people are feeling about returning to a physical space in light of the pandemic.
She continued, “What has become apparent is that although people have checked in online, the desire to get back into venues is high. 64% said they would use our venues with social distancing in place, with 27% unsure at this stage. Only 9% said they wouldn’t come in to venues at this time.”
“This feedback reflects the evidence we have gathered over the years – fitness and leisure venues are more than just a place to exercise. They bring a sense of community and togetherness and are used by many customers as a way to socialise and meet people.”
Paul Cromwell, Chief Executive of Live active Leisure commented, “Our recent customer survey received a fantastic number of responses and it was reassuring to see so many of our customers keen to get back into our venues - we can assure you we feel the same.
The most recent update by the Scottish Government confirmed that the reopening of indoor gym / leisure venues, has yet to be given an exact date for return, but will not be given approval before the 31st July. In the meantime we continue to work with the Local Authority, sportscotland and a range of partners to progress the plans for the return of sport and physical activity.
“Like many other businesses when we do re-open it will not be as we were pre COVID-19. Physical distancing requirements are likely to remain in place, which will require some changes to how we operate. So, at the appropriate time we will start to re-open our venues and services, but it will be gradual, and done in a way that ensures we attract customers back but also, very importantly, in a way that’s financially sustainable.
"Some of the changes which can be expected include the range of activities which will be available initially, the numbers of customers we’re able to accommodate, how customers will enter and exit our venues including one-way systems and enhanced cleaning arrangements. All of which will be introduced to safeguard our customers and staff and give everyone the confidence to start to return to the activities we know everyone has missed over the last few months.
LAL continues to face financial challenges as a result of the pandemic. The closure of all of the Company's venues in March effectively reduced the Company's income level to zero whilst still having to manage unavoidable costs.
Mr Cromwell continued, “The impact of this pandemic has and will continue to create significant unplanned financial pressures for the Company, and indeed the whole of the leisure industry. These challenges are not insignificant, and in recognition of this a campaign has been launched this week by Community Leisure UK (the leisure sector association representing charitable leisure and cultural trusts). If you would like to find out more information about the #SaveLeisure campaign please visit https://communityleisureuk.org/work/saveleisure-campaign/
"Finally, I would like to assure everyone that as soon as we have further updates it will be shared on our website, social media channels and in our weekly e-newsletter. In the meantime, we hope you continue to live active using our At Home Hub for workouts, resources and links.”