LEISURE bosses have been praised for not making a single member of staff redundant during the Covid-19 pandemic.
East Lothian councillors heard that enjoyleisure, which runs its sports facilities, had been able to avoid redundancies since the start of the pandemic.
In its annual report on the last financial year, chief executive Bill Axon said that other trusts like enjoyleisure across the country had been “less fortunate”.
But despite not having to let any employees go during the pandemic, he acknowledged that the leisure trust faced staffing issues, with fewer opportunities for people to train and qualify for posts at the centres during Covid.
Presenting the annual accounts to a virtual meeting of East Lothian Council’s audit and governance committee on Tuesday, Mr Axon revealed that enjoyleisure had recorded a deficit of just under £36,000 in 2021 to 2022, compared to the first year of the pandemic when it saw facilities close and a loss of about £447,000.
And he said that membership, which fell by a third when the pandemic hit, was back at about 93 per cent of its pre-pandemic numbers as he thanked local communities for returning to sports centres and “having confidence in Enjoy to keep them safe.”
Mr Axon told the committee: “We have recovered to a point we never thought was possible. That is down to the hard work of our senior management team during lockdown.
“The fact our communities had confidence in Enjoy to safely welcome them back is something we are delighted with.”
Mr Axon said that while total visitor numbers to sports centres remained below the 1.2 million recorded in 2019 to 2020 at 750,000 last year, the £36,000 deficit recorded was “small” and an “impressive result for the trust”.
The annual report revealed that the total group income in 2021 to 2022 was £6.1 million (up from £5.1 million in 2020 to 2021). Pre-Covid income levels were circa £6.4 million, with the majority of the remaining difference being in membership fees that have not yet recovered fully to pre-Covid numbers.
But he said that membership numbers had bounced back to 93 per cent of pre-Covid figures, with some people who previously used private gyms now looking at using the facilities in the cost-of-living crisis.
He said: “Compared to other leisure trusts in the UK, we retained or recovered a high amount of our membership base post-Covid.
“We were ahead of the average retention in the midst of the first lockdown, and continue to be grateful for our loyal customer base.
“Enjoy is uniquely positioned mid-market for the cost-of-living crisis and we hope that any membership we lose for those who can no longer afford a monthly direct debit can access facilities through the Access to Leisure scheme and that those who are cutting costs will join after leaving more expensive commercial gyms.”
Committee chairperson Councillor Lee-Anne Menzies praised the trust’s performance, adding that leisure facilities were of huge benefit to people’s health and mental health.
She said: “I would like to congratulate them on having no redundancies, with other centres around the country running on skeleton staff including private gyms. It is a real achievement.”
We want our comments to be a lively and valuable part of our community – a place where readers can debate and engage with the most important local issues. The ability to comment on our stories is a privilege, not a right, however, and that privilege may be withdrawn if it is abused or misused.
Please report any comments that break our rules.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
This website and associated newspapers adhere to the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s Editors’ Code of Practice. If you have a complaint about the editorial content which relates to inaccuracy or intrusion, then please contact the editor here. If you are dissatisfied with the response provided you can contact IPSO here
© 2001-2022. This site is part of Newsquest’s audited local newspaper network. A Gannett Company. Newsquest Media Group Ltd, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. HP10 9TY. Registered in England & Wales | 01676637 |
Data returned from the Piano ‘meterActive/meterExpired’ callback event.
As a subscriber, you are shown 80% less display advertising when reading our articles.
Those ads you do see are predominantly from local businesses promoting local services.
These adverts enable local businesses to get in front of their target audience – the local community.
It is important that we continue to promote these adverts as our local businesses need as much support as possible during these challenging times.