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Enjoy faces challenging year

PRESS RELEASE: Wed 27th February 2019

Local charity and East Lothian Sports and Leisure provider, enjoyleisure outlines plans to future-proof its services, as the organisation faces its most challenging financial year to date.

With a vision to inspire active communities, enjoyleisure is committed to providing facilities, services and activity programmes that encourage active participation to enrich the physical and mental wellbeing of the people and communities it serves. With over 350 employees and welcoming approximately 1 million visitors per year, enjoy provides a vital, valued and meaningful contribution to the local economy.

As a charity, all admission and membership income is reinvested back into the organisation to continually improve the delivery of its services. enjoy additionally receives an annual contract payment from East Lothian Council for the management of facilities on the Council’s behalf.

Since its creation in 2009, enjoy has faced substantial reductions in its annual contract payment and unfortunately this year is no different. However through the expansion and enhanced delivery of services including increasing its customer base, membership schemes and learn to swim programme, enjoy has been able offset these reductions whilst also enhancing services for the benefit of patrons and East Lothian communities.

However, enjoy now faces its most challenging financial year to date. Having already faced a Council contract reduction of £150k in 2018/19, the charity is now being confronted with many substantial increases, including energy costs of over £100k per annum; notable external supplier increases and a further £100k reduction from its Council contract payment for 2019/2020. As a result enjoy has had to re-evaluate its current financial and operational position in order to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the whole organisation.

General Manager Bill Axon explains, “I fully appreciate the difficulties regarding ongoing current public service financing, nonetheless, since 2009, enjoy has been able to overcome reductions in Council funding and uncontrollable additional costs through significantly increasing our income year-on-year. However, we are now facing a number of further financial pressures, which are out with our control. While our income has increased, this is not at a level to alleviate the substantial pressures of Council funding decreases and rising business costs.”

“Regrettably this means we have been forced to make some incredibly difficult decisions in order to safeguard the business for the future, which will preserve core services, facilities and jobs.”

During 2019, enjoy intends to make the following revisions to its services:

  • With dramatically falling user numbers, resulting in deficits no longer sustainable, the crèche service will regrettably be withdrawn from all enjoyleisure Sports Centres (Dunbar, North Berwick, Haddington (Aubigny), Tranent (Loch Centre) and Musselburgh.
  • The soft play facilities, will all remain open but will become self-supervised facilities.
  • An increase to standard admission charges across the organisation, which will be in the region of 3.5% across all charges.
  • A one-off nominal joining fee of £15 will be added to our fitness membership packages to cover the costs of ongoing membership administration.

Bill Axon continues, “We truly appreciate that the crèche service, which is supervised by highly-regarded staff, is an incredibly valued service by those who make use of it. It is because of this fact, that the decision to withdraw this service has been so incredibly difficult.” 

“Over the past 10 years, since enjoy’s creation, we have retained this service for the benefit of our customers, despite operating at a shortfall. However, as user numbers continue to decline year upon year, the subsequent financial deficit has increased strain on the rest of the organisation.”

“Given the funding reductions and additional financial challenges faced by enjoy this year, we have reached the point where we simply cannot continue to subsidise a deficit of this magnitude.”

“Additionally, strict adult to child ratios and current charging requirements reduce our capacity of increasing income for this service, and at existing user levels, it is not possible to retain this provision at an affordable cost to customers”. 

Bill Axon adds, “This outcome is not without regret. Having met with the staff involved to explain the position, their commitment, loyalty and dedication remains unquestionable and they have every reason to be proud of the quality of the service provided.”

“However, these tough decisions have become necessary, along with other management and operational adjustments, in order to safeguard the longevity of the organisation as a whole.”

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers and staff for their continued support and loyalty. As a local charitable organisation, we truly cherish, and are incredibly proud of the community spirit established both within and around our facilities and venues.”

“As East Lothian’s Sports & Leisure charity, we are committed to working with East Lothian Council, local sports clubs and the wider community to provide opportunities for everyone to enjoy being active within enjoyleisure facilities that are local to you and your communities.”

“I realise the frustration and disappointment these decisions will cause to our customers and for this I offer our sincerest and utmost apologies”.

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