Agenda item

Active4Today's Business Plan


The Committee considered the report presented by the Health Improvement & Community Relations Manager which presented the Active4Today (A4T) Draft Business Plan 2022/23 and the latest performance report for the period 12 April to end of December 2021. 


At the meeting of Policy & Finance Committee on 29 January 2015 it was resolved to establish a “not for profit” wholly owned leisure company to provide leisure and sports development services on the Council’s behalf.  This included the three leisure centres; Blidworth, Dukeries and the Newark Sports & Fitness Centre.  The Company, Active4Today, was duly incorporated on 9 March 2015.  Active4Today commenced operations on 1 June 2015.  The report also provided an update regarding the Southwell Leisure Centre Transfer and the Dukeries Leisure Centre new swimming pool.


As at 31 December 2021 there were 9,855 live members currently paying a direct debit membership; of those approximately 78 had frozen their memberships for either medical reasons or financial reasons in line with the Company’s Freeze Policy.  This compared to 251 freezes in August 2020, which followed the July re-opening after the first lockdown. 


In January 2021, the Company was predicting an outturn deficit for 2021-2022 in the region of £840k. This was approximately £640k over its forecast position, based on receiving the usual £200k management fee from the Council.  As previously stated, this was a direct result of the impact of Covid-19 and the pension costs associated with the pooled arrangement with the Council, which had been reported to Members in previous reports.   Whilst this latest forecast of £740k was very encouraging for both organisations, members would note that this was based on period 09 (December 2021) information and there continued to be uncertainty surrounding the continued presence of Covid.


Although as stated above, the in-year position for the Company was an improving one, A4T was currently £550k short of its suggested reserve position of £750k.  In order to try and achieve that level of reserve over the coming years, A4T were requesting that the whole amount of budget identified for A4T in 2021-2022 (£840k), be provided to the Company in the form of a management fee, at year end.  That would allow A4T to carry over any residual amount into its reserve (estimated at £100k for 2021-2022 based on performance to period 09) in order to rebuild its cash reserve resilience.  That proposition had been discussed with the Council and was supported by the Council’s 151 Officer. As a result, A4T were requesting that this was supported by Members of the Leisure and Environment Committee.


An update was provided regarding the transfer of Southwell Leisure Centre, which took place on 1 October 2021.  This included the remaining 6 months of its budget and all staff under a TUPE arrangement.  At the time of transfer Southwell Leisure Centre’s original forecasted budget for the 2021-2022 financial year had estimated a deficit at year end of approximately £230k.  However, having revised the current budget and reviewed all staffing, programming and membership income, the Company had forecast a new budget position, which now showed a deficit of c.£125k, an estimated saving over the original budget of approximately £105k.


An update was provided regarding the Dukeries Leisure Centre new swimming pool. Since the opening of the facility in July 2021, memberships for both adults and children had increased steadily and sessions included swimming lessons, laned swimming, parent and toddler sessions and fun swims with an inflatable for the younger swimmers.  The Company would continue to build numbers at this site as the sports development team began to promote the benefits of regular exercise to the plethora of target groups within the area.  This facility continued to be very well received by the community and it was hoped that the successful start to this facility could be built upon over the coming months and years.


A Member commented that there was nothing included in the business plan regarding healthy food provision in the leisure centres and questioned why a healthy eating provision couldn’t be included within the business plan.


The Managing Director Active4Today confirmed that the vending provision was not contained within the business plan.  Currently the vending provision was out sourced with the machines being installed, using the leisure centre electricity. To date there was very little financial gain to the company and as a result the vending provision was now being reviewed given there was no financial gain and also the associated health issues with high sugar and items generally being sold.


In answer to a Members question regarding Southwell Sports Forum and whether that would be supported, it was confirmed that the Managing Director Active4Today would provide a written answer to the Committee. 


(Councillor B Laughton left during the debate of this item).


AGREED           (unanimously) that:


(a)          Active4Today’s performance to Period 9 (December 2021) be         noted;


(b)         the Active4Today Draft Business Plan 2022/23 be noted in     preparation for the Final Plan to be presented to the22 March           Leisure and Environment Committee;


(c)                the initial early forecast outturn position for 2021/22 be noted;                       and the full management fee of £842K be made available for                     2021/2022;


(d)                the full year financial outturn position be reported to the June                       meeting;


(e)                 a management fee budget provision of £500K be established                       for 2022/23; and


(f)                 a written answer be provided to the Committee regarding                         Southwell Sports Forum.


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