Council gets a report on our Leisure Centres

Rayleigh Leisure  Centre

The District Council have a meeting of the Leisure, Tourism and Heritage Committee next week (on November 16th). The most interesting item is a routine progress report on the leisure facilities run for the council by Holmes Place. There’s nothing shocking here, but it’s worth reading. The full report is here.
If you have any questions or comments , please contact Chris, as he will be at the moment and can ask things on your behalf.

Here’s some extracts:

Takeover of Holmes Place by Virgin:

As has been well reported in the National press and specifically communicated to the Rochford District Leisure team, it is now clear that a merger will take place. At the time of writing, the two companies have exchanged contracts with the process of due diligence complete. The current status is that the verification of the deal sits with the Office of Fair Trading and upon approval from this body, the deal can then be completed and changes rolled out. It is however, still the case that we have no real contact with Virgin and as yet are unable to provide real answers as to how this may alter the operations of the Rochford facilities. However, facts that are available to us include :

? Clubs and Centres are likely to be re-branded to Virgin.
? Virgin will take on all 47 Holmes Place?s sites nationwide, but NOT the
European arm of the business.
? Virgin have committed to an initial ?20m of investment to upgrade the 47 Holmes Place sites. There is no information as yet available on the distribution of this money.
? All staff will be protected by TUPE. This concludes the information available at the time of writing and Holmes Place has given assurance through the Contract Operations Manager that updates will be provided at the earliest possible time, as the facts unfold.

Clements Hall:

? September has seen support for Councillor James Cottis, in his bid to raise money for charity for his planned parachute jump next year. Clements Hall is supporting 3 months membership, induction and a personal training session to get Councillor Cottis off to a positive start.

? Vandalism does continue at the centre, although had lessened over the early summer. Disappointingly matters have degenerated in early September following the ?moving on? of youth issues from Park Gardens . Despite this, even more effort has been made to strengthen links with our local Police team. This has resulted in positive action and the creation of a Police Office within Clements Hall at which they can conduct open surgery for the local community; we benefit from an increased police presence on site. This is still in its infancy but is showing early, successful signs.

Rayleigh Leisure Centre :

? Bowls – A Steering Committee was formed with committee members from other clubs, to help with the set up of the bowls club. A number of meetings have been held and are now at the stage where the leagues are due to start early October.

The final name for the bowls club, with input from Rochford District Council, is Rayleigh Leisure Indoor Bowls Club. The balance between forthcoming league and matches and ensuring there is constant pay and play ability is proving successful. Those who chose a pay and play option are subject to a one off initial induction charge and a hire facility has been put into place for the woods and jacks. The stretching of and marking of the green will be taking place in early October. Open days were held to gain interest from new prospective members and the setting up of the leagues.

? All outstanding snagging issues were resolved by Total Construction at the end of September 2006. Issues included
? Additional CCTV camera to rear of car park
– Alteration to skate park lights o
– Heating in bowls hall o Studio window film o
– Leak in disabled lift
– Basketball post installation has been delayed due to the wrong type of supports within the walls. However, this is now resolved with a schedule being drawn up for the works to be actioned as quickly as possible.

The Freight House:

? Stacey?s Auctions are now a regular thing,, with Mark and his brother Paul holding their auctions here once a month. They have provisionally booked twelve dates for next year, which is very encouraging, and as well as these events, they are holding regular antiques courses at Freight House. There is talk for next year that the TV series ?Flog it? may want to film here.

The Mill Arts and Events Centre:

? We will again be taking part in Essex on Tour this year and will try to hold a minimum of two events, to promote the performing arts in this area. We are running one for the older generation called Time of Our Lives, a successful group that we have had here before, who put on plays based on the wars. The other performance is from a Cello player who uses her cello to explore the world and the different music that is available to us. ?Me and My Cello? is a comical performance and one that we hope the public will enjoy. By keeping ticket prices low we aim to try and get as many age groups interested as possible.

? The Mill hosted the Essex Book Festival, with Kate Adie being our key speaker. We are very proud to be the hosts of this large publicized event. The show sold out and was as successful, if not more so, than the previous event with Michael Burke last year. They have again, with the encouragement of the Council?s Arts Development Officer, chosen to rebook with us for 2007.

? The Mill has enjoyed running four of the local school Proms again this year. Our reputation for affordable quality and an excellent night out is really helping, as more schools want to book with us. It is also a great experience to be part of such an important night in so many young people?s lives. We think it helps to curb some of the vandalism when the youth can come in for a special event that is dedicated to them and take part in something special.

? The Mill ran its first ever Boxing Event in March. It was hugely successful with the local community and we are hoping to run it again in 2007.

Great Wakering Sports Centre:

? It is good to note that we have not had any vandalism in the last six months. We have had some building work carried out, with the lighting system re-tubed in the main hall and some electrical work maintained.

Castle Hall:

? The building itself suffers from extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter. We are very flexible with all our block bookings at Castle Hall and keep the rates extremely low, to reflect the fact that it is a small self contained hall. The toilets are very old and the floor is very difficult to maintain to a high standard but our cleaners, DMB work hard to achieve a satisfactory level of cleanliness.