Retford & District Lifesaving Club Management team would like to explain important changes to the way the club operates on a Saturday morning.
The Lifesaving club is an independently established community club affiliated to the Royal Life Saving Society. We have, for over 40 years, provided the Lifesaving lessons at Retford Leisure Centre through a partnership agreement with Bassetlaw District Council, the owner/operator of the centre. Responsibility for the operational management of the centre now sits with BPL as the current managers of the centre.
How will this impact on club members?
Previously, as a member of the club you were required to make two forms of payment:
- One to the leisure centre to access the pool, payable every session – thereby negating the need to hire the pool
- One as an annual club fee to cover affiliation fees, insurance and purchase of small items used to run the club
On the whole, this has worked well for all parties for a very long time and aligned with our aim to keep lifesaving activities accessible to all as cheaply as possible. As you might expect, what members pay does not cover the full operating costs of the club, the club management group undertake other fundraising activities to pay for equipment and entry fees to major competitions. The main advantage to members is that you ‘pay as you go’. We believe this has enabled more people to access Lifesaving lessons than otherwise would have done so.
The forced temporary closure of the club and Leisure Centre has led BPL to review existing arrangements. While they support the continuation of Lifesaving lessons, the traditional payment methods are no longer their preferred approach.
We were asked to consider paying the pool hire directly and becoming a wholly independent unit. We have resisted this option because we know that in time it would lead to a significant increase in costs to you as club members and would take us down the route many other Lifesaving clubs have found themselves in, where they have become uneconomic and are closing.
A key objective of the centre is to become a cash free operation, which will save money for the centre in the long term. The downside is that we have had to give up the concept of a ‘pay as you go’ club in preference to a monthly Direct Debit.
The need for cashless payments has been driven by the Covid secure commitment the centre has given. Although cashless payment was coming our way at some point in the future it has hit us much sooner than we would have thought.
In agreeing to this change we think we have secured the future of the club and the partnership agreement. Overall, regular users should not pay any more. The same however cannot be said for those casual users.
BPL have set a fee of £18 to be paid by direct debit to access Lifesaving lessons. You may cancel and re-start this process on a month by month basis. The direct debit can only be set up by talking to a member of staff at the centre, we the club are not in control of any aspect of this process. We trust this new arrangement will be acceptable to the majority, but we appreciate it will not suit all members. A significant new benefit is that all those who pay by direct debit will have free access to public swimming sessions at the centre.
On a year by year basis we have between 50-60 paid members and regularly get 35-40 attending each week. The club has been growing our members over that last few years and hope to grow further with your support.
Thank you for your continued support.
Pete, Dave and Theresa