Revamp for South Lakeland leisure centres set to boost business

Lakes Leisure business development manager Derek Jones outside its Kendal site

Lakes Leisure business development manager Derek Jones outside its Kendal site

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

LEISURE centres across South Lakeland are being revamped as bosses embark on a top-to-bottom rethink to get more people through the doors.

Lakes Leisure lost 46 per cent of its funding as a result of local council cuts and is having to find ‘smarter’ ways of working to appeal to new customers.

One idea is already under way, as Kendal youngsters have been invited to design a new leisure centre which could be built within six years.

Users of centres in Kendal, Ulverston and Windermere will be able to take advantage of new offers and better access to facilities this year.

Derek Jones, Lakes Leisure's new business development manager, said: “It’s about doing things more efficiently without losing services, quality and standards. We have to be smarter and look at other ways of generating revenue.

“We are completely reviewing how we operate to get as many people into our leisure facilities as possible, using the Olympics legacy as a platform and understanding the customers that make up South Lakeland.”

Mr Jones, who has turned around the fortunes of leisure centres in his native Merseyside, is keen to get more over-60s – the majority of South Lakeland’s population – using the centres, while measures to entice other groups will be introduced.

Related links

A new ‘Get Active’ 20 per cent discount card launches in February to reward regular users of swimming, fitness and gym facilities.

And full-time students, income support recipients, Blue Badge members and Armed Forces personnel will get discounts of up to 50 per cent.

Mr Jones said people’s perception of leisure centres and cost were the main reasons some stayed away.

But he said his changes were designed to boost access to more activities, while facilities could be converted to create extra space and make the centres’ provision more flexible.

Mr Jones continued: “A lot of over-60s are very careful about budgets. We’re trying to make it more affordable.

“It’s about getting people to feel good about themselves and about living in South Lakeland, improving lives and making sure people are more active, more often.

“We want to break down barriers and make people realise that modern leisure facilities are there for everyone.”

Mr Jones also said he would be working with the NHS, schools, social services and others to discuss how leisure activities could be taken out of the centres and into communities.

He explained: “We have to get out into local schools, church halls and playing fields – there are people out there who want to be the next Jess Ennis and we have to support them.”

It is hoped that the ‘design a leisure centre’ competition will get youngsters thinking about what they want from a future leisure facility in Kendal.

The competition is open to ages five to 19 until January 31, with the best entries from three categories each winning a mountain bike.

Entry forms are available from Lakes Leisure Kendal and have also been sent to local schools.

Comments (35)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:26pm Wed 2 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

The Leisure Centre has been a shambles for years.
The staff need lessons in customer service.
The swimming pool is dire.
The changing rooms are appalling.
There is little to attract a wider range of people to go there.
It is a waste of local taxpayers money most of whom don't even go there because it is so useless.
How about knocking it down and building some affordable housing there instead?
The Leisure Centre has been a shambles for years. The staff need lessons in customer service. The swimming pool is dire. The changing rooms are appalling. There is little to attract a wider range of people to go there. It is a waste of local taxpayers money most of whom don't even go there because it is so useless. How about knocking it down and building some affordable housing there instead? Whinfell
  • Score: 0

1:22am Thu 3 Jan 13

hemyfan says...

I attend a more central local rival's gym who have average but good enough facilities. I'm over 60, a recent reluctant convert to gym attendance, but not at Lakes Leisure prices. LL are £100 a year more expensive than my local gym's current "gym and swim" offer i.e. about £250 v £360. That's a big difference.
I attend a more central local rival's gym who have average but good enough facilities. I'm over 60, a recent reluctant convert to gym attendance, but not at Lakes Leisure prices. LL are £100 a year more expensive than my local gym's current "gym and swim" offer i.e. about £250 v £360. That's a big difference. hemyfan
  • Score: 0

8:15am Thu 3 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

Yes! You are also paying for all the staff,the upkeep and maintainance, and all other costs of this hopeless leisure centre through your Council Tax.
The sooner they close this drain on resources down the better.
Just think about how many affordable homes they could be built on this site.
It would be a far better use of the land.
Yes! You are also paying for all the staff,the upkeep and maintainance, and all other costs of this hopeless leisure centre through your Council Tax. The sooner they close this drain on resources down the better. Just think about how many affordable homes they could be built on this site. It would be a far better use of the land. Whinfell
  • Score: 0

9:19am Thu 3 Jan 13

zaney5 says...

One thing they need to do is make the swim times more accessible. The last time my step daughter came to stay she was desperate to go swimming but a quick look at the timetable showed that the day was taken up with lessons, adult swimming, lane swimming, schools, etc.
When are the general public supposed to go?
One thing they need to do is make the swim times more accessible. The last time my step daughter came to stay she was desperate to go swimming but a quick look at the timetable showed that the day was taken up with lessons, adult swimming, lane swimming, schools, etc. When are the general public supposed to go? zaney5
  • Score: 0

2:08pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Ladyxxmacbeth says...

The gym and facilities are too expensive. I enjoy playing squash with my husband but often it cost us over ten pounds to play. The court is over seven pounds you have to pay to hire rackets and have to buy your own squash ball. The staff are not friendly especially in the gym. The gym is expensive although the equipment is good. Classes are £6 plus and only seem to be in the evening. Swimming is hit or miss as sometimes I have turned up to find it is closed for some competition or because of school lessons. The changing rooms are horrible.
I would like to see a really nice swimming pool with slides and wave machines or some sort of leisure facility like skiing that you can take the family to.
I say keep it for schools and concerts but shut the rest down and plough more grants into better entertainment.
The gym and facilities are too expensive. I enjoy playing squash with my husband but often it cost us over ten pounds to play. The court is over seven pounds you have to pay to hire rackets and have to buy your own squash ball. The staff are not friendly especially in the gym. The gym is expensive although the equipment is good. Classes are £6 plus and only seem to be in the evening. Swimming is hit or miss as sometimes I have turned up to find it is closed for some competition or because of school lessons. The changing rooms are horrible. I would like to see a really nice swimming pool with slides and wave machines or some sort of leisure facility like skiing that you can take the family to. I say keep it for schools and concerts but shut the rest down and plough more grants into better entertainment. Ladyxxmacbeth
  • Score: 0

2:37pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Ben Berry says...

Its a very hard business.

But there is no doubt in my mind that it can be profitable, so good luck with their diversification.
Its a very hard business. But there is no doubt in my mind that it can be profitable, so good luck with their diversification. Ben Berry
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

If the Leisure Centre was a private company trying to make a profit it would have shut down years ago at a great loss.
I would love to know how much money it costs the local taxpayer to fund this hopeless organisation.
Whatever it is, it's a waste of money when we can ill afford to squander it.
If you are as disillusioned as I am about the costs and the staff Ladyxxmacbeth then just don't go there.
They wouldn't care if you went or not as long as we, as taxpayers, carry on paying their wages
If the Leisure Centre was a private company trying to make a profit it would have shut down years ago at a great loss. I would love to know how much money it costs the local taxpayer to fund this hopeless organisation. Whatever it is, it's a waste of money when we can ill afford to squander it. If you are as disillusioned as I am about the costs and the staff Ladyxxmacbeth then just don't go there. They wouldn't care if you went or not as long as we, as taxpayers, carry on paying their wages Whinfell
  • Score: 0

4:13pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Kendmoor says...

I agree with most of the above comments! and especially Whinfell's comments - though I'd say knocking it down is a little much. We no longer go there are there are other gyms which are less expensive and more importantly: offer more classes! Get Les Mills classes there, you'll get a hell of alot of more customers at the moment the variety of classes on offer are useless compared to other gyms - and no classes on sunday? I don't see how they can compete with other gyms...
I'm not sure about the changing rooms, are they communial like the ones for the swimming pool (I quite like the swimming pool, though again, now we have gym memberships elsewhere we haven't been in well over a year). Get Les Mills and you get my family and I back as customers ;)
I agree with most of the above comments! and especially Whinfell's comments - though I'd say knocking it down is a little much. We no longer go there are there are other gyms which are less expensive and more importantly: offer more classes! Get Les Mills classes there, you'll get a hell of alot of more customers at the moment the variety of classes on offer are useless compared to other gyms - and no classes on sunday? I don't see how they can compete with other gyms... I'm not sure about the changing rooms, are they communial like the ones for the swimming pool (I quite like the swimming pool, though again, now we have gym memberships elsewhere we haven't been in well over a year). Get Les Mills and you get my family and I back as customers ;) Kendmoor
  • Score: 0

7:51pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Ladyxxmacbeth says...

There are no changing facilities at the leisure centre for gym users u hav to change in the swimming changing rooms then walk through the lobby in you gym kit. This is one of the reasons I don't go. Thus I get fatter thus I cost the state more long term...because everyone knows that you can only lose weight by driving to the gym and walking on a treadmill.
There are no changing facilities at the leisure centre for gym users u hav to change in the swimming changing rooms then walk through the lobby in you gym kit. This is one of the reasons I don't go. Thus I get fatter thus I cost the state more long term...because everyone knows that you can only lose weight by driving to the gym and walking on a treadmill. Ladyxxmacbeth
  • Score: 0

9:29am Fri 4 Jan 13

MJ-kendal says...

The comments should make the Gazette get a response from Lakes Leisure I think!

There are changing rooms for the gym and courts, and you can take another route up the stairs to get to the gym without going via the lobby. I imagine that it is a tough business to be in.

However, in an age where we are paying more and more for health care, wouldn't it be better for the government to pay for facilities that allow us to get exercise cheaper, rather than all getting obese and costing more in the health system?
The comments should make the Gazette get a response from Lakes Leisure I think! There are changing rooms for the gym and courts, and you can take another route up the stairs to get to the gym without going via the lobby. I imagine that it is a tough business to be in. However, in an age where we are paying more and more for health care, wouldn't it be better for the government to pay for facilities that allow us to get exercise cheaper, rather than all getting obese and costing more in the health system? MJ-kendal
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Kendmoor says...

As I said above MJ - with the facilitys and "classes" as they currently are, no amount of discount would make me consider this gym over the others that have far better variety of classes :(
As I said above MJ - with the facilitys and "classes" as they currently are, no amount of discount would make me consider this gym over the others that have far better variety of classes :( Kendmoor
  • Score: 0

2:10pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Rainyjoe says...

Could anyone please explain to me why "youngsters" are being asked to design a leisure centre. Are they suddenly qualified in design simply because they are young. This " ask the youngsters" movement seems quite wide in Cumbria.

What about ask the over 60s " the majority of the local population". Youngsters are important but so are the elderly - personally I see this as a way to make money and keep parents happy. For a change why doesn't someone ask the older generation what design they'd like to see.
Could anyone please explain to me why "youngsters" are being asked to design a leisure centre. Are they suddenly qualified in design simply because they are young. This " ask the youngsters" movement seems quite wide in Cumbria. What about ask the over 60s " the majority of the local population". Youngsters are important but so are the elderly - personally I see this as a way to make money and keep parents happy. For a change why doesn't someone ask the older generation what design they'd like to see. Rainyjoe
  • Score: 0

2:34pm Fri 4 Jan 13

MJ-kendal says...

Rainyjoe wrote:
Could anyone please explain to me why "youngsters" are being asked to design a leisure centre. Are they suddenly qualified in design simply because they are young. This " ask the youngsters" movement seems quite wide in Cumbria.

What about ask the over 60s " the majority of the local population". Youngsters are important but so are the elderly - personally I see this as a way to make money and keep parents happy. For a change why doesn't someone ask the older generation what design they'd like to see.
A good question. When our kids were young, my wife used to go to classes and then have a swim followed by a coffee. They didn't advertise them well, and then they introduced the parking limit which meant that there wasn't time to do this long "relaxing" exercise. Then they closed the cafe, and she felt "pushed away". Yet mothers are the ones who have the time and inclination during the day. They should be asked to design it too.
[quote][p][bold]Rainyjoe[/bold] wrote: Could anyone please explain to me why "youngsters" are being asked to design a leisure centre. Are they suddenly qualified in design simply because they are young. This " ask the youngsters" movement seems quite wide in Cumbria. What about ask the over 60s " the majority of the local population". Youngsters are important but so are the elderly - personally I see this as a way to make money and keep parents happy. For a change why doesn't someone ask the older generation what design they'd like to see.[/p][/quote]A good question. When our kids were young, my wife used to go to classes and then have a swim followed by a coffee. They didn't advertise them well, and then they introduced the parking limit which meant that there wasn't time to do this long "relaxing" exercise. Then they closed the cafe, and she felt "pushed away". Yet mothers are the ones who have the time and inclination during the day. They should be asked to design it too. MJ-kendal
  • Score: 0

7:37am Sat 5 Jan 13

A view From Cumbria says...

Actually the Leisure Centre isn't being supported by your council tax any more. That is one of the things bringing all this to a head at last.

The centre was built in the 1970s in an attempt to improve on public facilities and facilites for Kendal's then new comprehensive schools. This meant that Cumbria CC was for a long time spending a large part of the education budget on maintaining the leisure centre.

I agree the centre is pretty loathsome and demonstrates very effectively that if you want to organise a drinking event in a brewery then you don't use the public sector.

The building presumably won many design awards at the time: that is why it is so cold, difficult to heat, ugly and makes such bad use of the space available.

In fact, in recent years the grants to the Leisure Centre from South Lakeland have been relatively modest compared with say the Brewery Arts Centre.

There is a South Lakeland Leisure Trust and that has been operating for ten years as a spun off subsidiary of South Lakeland - there haven't been too many volunteers to serve on the board but I am sure enquiries for the above correspondents would be welcome.

Even in the medium term the building will have to be knocked down I guess, it is jerry built, incredibly difficult to heat, makes bad use of the land available and is too far out from the town centre. The question then is whether to rebuild on the present site or somewhere more appropriate to the modern needs of the town. It is likely that many of the sporting clubs would want to include similar facilities in any redevelopment - and we have heard a lot about such proposals this last couple of years.

What then to do with the existing site ? In my view it is too valuable for affordable housing. I doubt there is much market for retail facilities, that bubble has burst. Maybe a hotel although that market would also seem to be operating with excess capacity.

There are no easy answers. Simplistic ones yes, you see them in leaflets from our MP.

Happy New Year
Actually the Leisure Centre isn't being supported by your council tax any more. That is one of the things bringing all this to a head at last. The centre was built in the 1970s in an attempt to improve on public facilities and facilites for Kendal's then new comprehensive schools. This meant that Cumbria CC was for a long time spending a large part of the education budget on maintaining the leisure centre. I agree the centre is pretty loathsome and demonstrates very effectively that if you want to organise a drinking event in a brewery then you don't use the public sector. The building presumably won many design awards at the time: that is why it is so cold, difficult to heat, ugly and makes such bad use of the space available. In fact, in recent years the grants to the Leisure Centre from South Lakeland have been relatively modest compared with say the Brewery Arts Centre. There is a South Lakeland Leisure Trust and that has been operating for ten years as a spun off subsidiary of South Lakeland - there haven't been too many volunteers to serve on the board but I am sure enquiries for the above correspondents would be welcome. Even in the medium term the building will have to be knocked down I guess, it is jerry built, incredibly difficult to heat, makes bad use of the land available and is too far out from the town centre. The question then is whether to rebuild on the present site or somewhere more appropriate to the modern needs of the town. It is likely that many of the sporting clubs would want to include similar facilities in any redevelopment - and we have heard a lot about such proposals this last couple of years. What then to do with the existing site ? In my view it is too valuable for affordable housing. I doubt there is much market for retail facilities, that bubble has burst. Maybe a hotel although that market would also seem to be operating with excess capacity. There are no easy answers. Simplistic ones yes, you see them in leaflets from our MP. Happy New Year A view From Cumbria
  • Score: 0

10:42am Sat 5 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

Very intersting point!
I agree with your statement that the Leisure Centre is 'loathsome'.An accurate word in the context.
I also think it should be knocked down and replaced with something that would benefit locals such as badly needed housing.
Surely it is still financed bytaxpayes even if it is a trust.Where are they getting the money to pay the staff,heating, and maintanace.Who does the Trust get the money from?
You say it is a spun off subsiduary of South Lakeland District Council so surely it is still being funded by the beleagured Council tax payer.
There have been very few positive comments made about this useless Leiosure Centre.
I thought I was in the minority.
Cleary not!
Very intersting point! I agree with your statement that the Leisure Centre is 'loathsome'.An accurate word in the context. I also think it should be knocked down and replaced with something that would benefit locals such as badly needed housing. Surely it is still financed bytaxpayes even if it is a trust.Where are they getting the money to pay the staff,heating, and maintanace.Who does the Trust get the money from? You say it is a spun off subsiduary of South Lakeland District Council so surely it is still being funded by the beleagured Council tax payer. There have been very few positive comments made about this useless Leiosure Centre. I thought I was in the minority. Cleary not! Whinfell
  • Score: 0

10:25am Sun 6 Jan 13

Geoff103 says...

I only use the Centre when attending the Lakeland Sinfonia concert series. That amounts to about 10 concerts a year, so I'm a regular visitor but solely for these events.

The Centre demonstrates the pitiful lack of appreciation for what its customers for these events actually want.

Poor quality seating, difficult steep access for those with any kind of walking difficulty - these are events that attract a majority audience over 60.

A woeful approach to 'nannying' the audience. There is a, presumably, obligatory, 'safety' announcement informing all audience members to remain seated and and calm in the event of emergency and follow all instructions by Leisure Centre staff. For heaven's sake, the audience is comprised of experienced, sensible people and this announcement is patronising and irritating beyond belief.

Customer service is poor. Interval sales of ice creams mean long queues to the single (only recently changed to two) service point.

Sloppy centre staff. For the audience, a concert is a 'special event' where this age group dresses up and smartly. The staff slouch around in track suits looking, for the most part acutely bored by the whole thing.

Car parking is poor and exiting is slow through the single exit point. What is needed is better traffic control and the sole entry point used as an exit point. Unlike other uses of the Centre, virtually all the users are leaving at the same time after a concert and not in a staggered, random way for the other events.

Supposedly free WiFi access doesn't work.

Surprisingly for a 'sports hall' the acoustics are quite good but the ramshackle platform arrangements make the whole thing appear second-rate.

If it wasn't for the excellence of the Northern Sinfonia, the Halle and BBC Philharmonic (the Sinfonia itself is merely a makeweight to the subscription series, though enthusiastic and well-meaning) there would be nothing in the idea of a concert at the Centre that would appeal.

Clearly for the population density it has to serve, the Leisure Centre must be multi-purpose if it is to approach self-sufficiency on financial terms. That means treating these events -- and presumably others like them since I observe posters advertising other entertainment evenings there which I do not attend -- with greater professionalism and respect.
I only use the Centre when attending the Lakeland Sinfonia concert series. That amounts to about 10 concerts a year, so I'm a regular visitor but solely for these events. The Centre demonstrates the pitiful lack of appreciation for what its customers for these events actually want. Poor quality seating, difficult steep access for those with any kind of walking difficulty - these are events that attract a majority audience over 60. A woeful approach to 'nannying' the audience. There is a, presumably, obligatory, 'safety' announcement informing all audience members to remain seated and and calm in the event of emergency and follow all instructions by Leisure Centre staff. For heaven's sake, the audience is comprised of experienced, sensible people and this announcement is patronising and irritating beyond belief. Customer service is poor. Interval sales of ice creams mean long queues to the single (only recently changed to two) service point. Sloppy centre staff. For the audience, a concert is a 'special event' where this age group dresses up and smartly. The staff slouch around in track suits looking, for the most part acutely bored by the whole thing. Car parking is poor and exiting is slow through the single exit point. What is needed is better traffic control and the sole entry point used as an exit point. Unlike other uses of the Centre, virtually all the users are leaving at the same time after a concert and not in a staggered, random way for the other events. Supposedly free WiFi access doesn't work. Surprisingly for a 'sports hall' the acoustics are quite good but the ramshackle platform arrangements make the whole thing appear second-rate. If it wasn't for the excellence of the Northern Sinfonia, the Halle and BBC Philharmonic (the Sinfonia itself is merely a makeweight to the subscription series, though enthusiastic and well-meaning) there would be nothing in the idea of a concert at the Centre that would appeal. Clearly for the population density it has to serve, the Leisure Centre must be multi-purpose if it is to approach self-sufficiency on financial terms. That means treating these events -- and presumably others like them since I observe posters advertising other entertainment evenings there which I do not attend -- with greater professionalism and respect. Geoff103
  • Score: 0

11:35am Sun 6 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

I witnessed a 'classic' incident at a classical concert once, which demonstrates the hopeless customer care skills and lack of any initiative of the staff who work there.
A chap dressed up in a penguin suit and dickie bow had put 50p into a drinks machine for a can of coke.
As usual the machine failed to deliver and he had no more loose change or cash on him.
He was obviously a 'well to do type', judging from his attire and manner of speaking.It was clear he was not trying to con the hard pressed Leisure Centre out of 50p
He asked the hopeless member of staff behind the desk if he could possibly have a refund or if someone could retrieve the drink for him.
The 'jobsworth' staff member dug in saying 'No', this was not possible.
The poor chap was obviously very thirsty but she would have none of it.
Ofcourse any decent human being would have got 50p from somehere or made some attempt to get him a drink ftrom the machine
Rules were rules though and any effort to help the man would have involved a little extra work and customer care.
Also the staff were slouching around in their tracksuits.They couldn't be bothered to make any effort to fit in with the cutomers who made an effort to dress up for the ocassion.
I witnessed a 'classic' incident at a classical concert once, which demonstrates the hopeless customer care skills and lack of any initiative of the staff who work there. A chap dressed up in a penguin suit and dickie bow had put 50p[yes 50p] into a drinks machine for a can of coke. As usual the machine failed to deliver and he had no more loose change or cash on him. He was obviously a 'well to do type', judging from his attire and manner of speaking.It was clear he was not trying to con the hard pressed Leisure Centre out of 50p He asked the hopeless member of staff behind the desk if he could possibly have a refund or if someone could retrieve the drink for him. The 'jobsworth' staff member dug in saying 'No', this was not possible. The poor chap was obviously very thirsty but she would have none of it. Ofcourse any decent human being would have got 50p from somehere or made some attempt to get him a drink ftrom the machine Rules were rules though and any effort to help the man would have involved a little extra work and customer care. Also the staff were slouching around in their tracksuits.They couldn't be bothered to make any effort to fit in with the cutomers who made an effort to dress up for the ocassion. Whinfell
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Sun 6 Jan 13

Geoff103 says...

Whinfell wrote:
I witnessed a 'classic' incident at a classical concert once, which demonstrates the hopeless customer care skills and lack of any initiative of the staff who work there.
A chap dressed up in a penguin suit and dickie bow had put 50p into a drinks machine for a can of coke.
As usual the machine failed to deliver and he had no more loose change or cash on him.
He was obviously a 'well to do type', judging from his attire and manner of speaking.It was clear he was not trying to con the hard pressed Leisure Centre out of 50p
He asked the hopeless member of staff behind the desk if he could possibly have a refund or if someone could retrieve the drink for him.
The 'jobsworth' staff member dug in saying 'No', this was not possible.
The poor chap was obviously very thirsty but she would have none of it.
Ofcourse any decent human being would have got 50p from somehere or made some attempt to get him a drink ftrom the machine
Rules were rules though and any effort to help the man would have involved a little extra work and customer care.
Also the staff were slouching around in their tracksuits.They couldn't be bothered to make any effort to fit in with the cutomers who made an effort to dress up for the ocassion.
Your 'obviously well to do type' could well have been a member of the orchestra and as such would have been in his work attire.
[quote][p][bold]Whinfell[/bold] wrote: I witnessed a 'classic' incident at a classical concert once, which demonstrates the hopeless customer care skills and lack of any initiative of the staff who work there. A chap dressed up in a penguin suit and dickie bow had put 50p[yes 50p] into a drinks machine for a can of coke. As usual the machine failed to deliver and he had no more loose change or cash on him. He was obviously a 'well to do type', judging from his attire and manner of speaking.It was clear he was not trying to con the hard pressed Leisure Centre out of 50p He asked the hopeless member of staff behind the desk if he could possibly have a refund or if someone could retrieve the drink for him. The 'jobsworth' staff member dug in saying 'No', this was not possible. The poor chap was obviously very thirsty but she would have none of it. Ofcourse any decent human being would have got 50p from somehere or made some attempt to get him a drink ftrom the machine Rules were rules though and any effort to help the man would have involved a little extra work and customer care. Also the staff were slouching around in their tracksuits.They couldn't be bothered to make any effort to fit in with the cutomers who made an effort to dress up for the ocassion.[/p][/quote]Your 'obviously well to do type' could well have been a member of the orchestra and as such would have been in his work attire. Geoff103
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Sun 6 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

Actually he was a customer.
The joke was that the receptionist said it would have to be sorted out on the Monday and asked him to come back then.
He lived in Morecambe!
Similary a regular user of the Fitness Unit turned up without his membership card one night.
He used to go 3 times a week.He was such a regular visitor they not only knew he was a member they used first name terms.
When he checked his pockets he noticed he forgot his membership card.
The receptionist said he would have to pay full price or go home to get his card.
He was arguing that they knew he was a member besides which he lived near Carnforth so going home to get his card was not an option.
This held no sway with the rule- bound member of staff.
It ended up with him suggesting where they could stick his membership card.
This sounded like a very painful procedure to me!
Actually he was a customer. The joke was that the receptionist said it would have to be sorted out on the Monday and asked him to come back then. He lived in Morecambe! Similary a regular user of the Fitness Unit turned up without his membership card one night. He used to go 3 times a week.He was such a regular visitor they not only knew he was a member they used first name terms. When he checked his pockets he noticed he forgot his membership card. The receptionist said he would have to pay full price or go home to get his card. He was arguing that they knew he was a member besides which he lived near Carnforth so going home to get his card was not an option. This held no sway with the rule- bound member of staff. It ended up with him suggesting where they could stick his membership card. This sounded like a very painful procedure to me! Whinfell
  • Score: 0

6:44pm Sun 6 Jan 13

Geoff103 says...

Ah, the rules is rules approach.

Doesn't surprise me.

Actually it's remarkably easy to make a good job of any hospitality type event. I used to organise many of these for IBM in Eastern Europe.

All it needs some kind of empathy with the audience and a desire to excel in quality of service. These are not difficult things to aspire to.

But, as ever, there's a dull-wittedness about the English in these kind of venues where they appear to resent the very idea of 'serving' a customer.
Ah, the rules is rules approach. Doesn't surprise me. Actually it's remarkably easy to make a good job of any hospitality type event. I used to organise many of these for IBM in Eastern Europe. All it needs some kind of empathy with the audience and a desire to excel in quality of service. These are not difficult things to aspire to. But, as ever, there's a dull-wittedness about the English in these kind of venues where they appear to resent the very idea of 'serving' a customer. Geoff103
  • Score: 0

6:31pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

Spot on!
I am still not clear how this place is funded though.Even if it is a Trust surely it is not self financed and must be getting public money from somewhere.
As a hard pressed taxpayer I would like to know how much it cost ro run and where the money is coming from.
Spot on! I am still not clear how this place is funded though.Even if it is a Trust surely it is not self financed and must be getting public money from somewhere. As a hard pressed taxpayer I would like to know how much it cost ro run and where the money is coming from. Whinfell
  • Score: 0

7:17pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Local Kendal Lass says...

I have just read all the above comments, and i'm very suprised that I am going to be the first person to totally disagree with all the above comments.

As a local Kendal lass, I have used the centre from childhood, and continue to do so, particularly the pool, which as an avid swimmer is arguably the best in the area. It's clean and well maintained, the pool times are flexible and even offer swim times before work (which I use), and through the school holidays there are even more swimming sessions.

Although Lakes Leisure have inherited a 1970s building, which is what it is, they have renovated the insides well. The gym is amazing!!! well equiped, clean, modern and affordable. I looked into joining a local hotel gym in kendal which has a joining fee of over £100 - something the leisure centre don't charge, I use the pay as you go, as this suits me better, and no where else seems to offer this. The gym staff are well trained, experienced and keen to help you and answer any questions - I can't fault them.

I have always found the Centre staff friendly, helpful and on the rare occasion I have had to report a concern, the reception staff have delt with it straight away.

The Centre has always been a central part of the town, and as I am aware it is no longer run by the council, (I think the website says it is a charitable trust) so relies heavily on the publics use and support - rather than the barrage of negativity I have read above - I am so shocked at the comments and wonder if these few people commenting are talking about the same centre that both me and my family and friends have used and enjoyed for years.

Why can't the people of Kendal get behind our local services and support them - otherwise we will loose yet another service - and then we will complain when we have no public pool!

I'd love to see some more support for our Centre!
I have just read all the above comments, and i'm very suprised that I am going to be the first person to totally disagree with all the above comments. As a local Kendal lass, I have used the centre from childhood, and continue to do so, particularly the pool, which as an avid swimmer is arguably the best in the area. It's clean and well maintained, the pool times are flexible and even offer swim times before work (which I use), and through the school holidays there are even more swimming sessions. Although Lakes Leisure have inherited a 1970s building, which is what it is, they have renovated the insides well. The gym is amazing!!! well equiped, clean, modern and affordable. I looked into joining a local hotel gym in kendal which has a joining fee of over £100 - something the leisure centre don't charge, I use the pay as you go, as this suits me better, and no where else seems to offer this. The gym staff are well trained, experienced and keen to help you and answer any questions - I can't fault them. I have always found the Centre staff friendly, helpful and on the rare occasion I have had to report a concern, the reception staff have delt with it straight away. The Centre has always been a central part of the town, and as I am aware it is no longer run by the council, (I think the website says it is a charitable trust) so relies heavily on the publics use and support - rather than the barrage of negativity I have read above - I am so shocked at the comments and wonder if these few people commenting are talking about the same centre that both me and my family and friends have used and enjoyed for years. Why can't the people of Kendal get behind our local services and support them - otherwise we will loose yet another service - and then we will complain when we have no public pool! I'd love to see some more support for our Centre! Local Kendal Lass
  • Score: 0

10:53pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Lakeuk says...

Leisure centre opened in 1982, it's done well the serve Kendal for 30 years, I remember learning to swim there, then swimming on a Saturday on the inflatables and the floating mats that gave you a rash. Remember going to some of the events like watching the pantomime of Big Daddy and Giant Haystack's wrestling.

It's good they're looking to the future and a possible replacement building, not sure on what that should be. I've used the YMCA's in Lytham on the odd occasion as a guest, they have smaller centres but have flexible offering like, annual membership, cheaper membership for off peak usage (day time), pay monthly, pay as you go, open till late in many centre, main membership can be used in all the fylde centres not just restricted to one. Subsidised rates for staff of local companies, our is a 50% discount (expect out company the majority of the discount)

For team based activities members can bring in a non-member on their card with no extra cost (hope that bits right, keep asking what I need to pay and told it's covered by the member)

These centres are funded through membership, grants, associations with councils and NHS
Leisure centre opened in 1982, it's done well the serve Kendal for 30 years, I remember learning to swim there, then swimming on a Saturday on the inflatables and the floating mats that gave you a rash. Remember going to some of the events like watching the pantomime of Big Daddy and Giant Haystack's wrestling. It's good they're looking to the future and a possible replacement building, not sure on what that should be. I've used the YMCA's in Lytham on the odd occasion as a guest, they have smaller centres but have flexible offering like, annual membership, cheaper membership for off peak usage (day time), pay monthly, pay as you go, open till late in many centre, main membership can be used in all the fylde centres not just restricted to one. Subsidised rates for staff of local companies, our is a 50% discount (expect out company the majority of the discount) For team based activities members can bring in a non-member on their card with no extra cost (hope that bits right, keep asking what I need to pay and told it's covered by the member) These centres are funded through membership, grants, associations with councils and NHS Lakeuk
  • Score: 0

11:05pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Lakeuk says...

Add to the above, smaller centres maybe a way forward, dotted around the area, Kendal, Grange, Troutbeck, Milnthorpe

It would do a way with a location for bigger events but maybe The Brewary should be the focal point for that type of event although they're probable too small. Maybe a opportunity for both of them to expand and develop a shared performance venue to host the bigger events, part time cinema screen
Add to the above, smaller centres maybe a way forward, dotted around the area, Kendal, Grange, Troutbeck, Milnthorpe It would do a way with a location for bigger events but maybe The Brewary should be the focal point for that type of event although they're probable too small. Maybe a opportunity for both of them to expand and develop a shared performance venue to host the bigger events, part time cinema screen Lakeuk
  • Score: 0

9:26am Tue 8 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

Well I am pleased Local Kendal Lass has some positive comments but at the moment you seem to be in a minority.
I used to support the place probably more than most.
That was until I witnessed poor customer service,staff inertia,a reduction in facilities, and hideously complicated pricing structures.
I wondered why I was not only paying through my Council Tax and by being a member,then paying my admission fee and finally paying an exorbitant amount for the hire of equipment.
Then I realised they didn't even care whether you came or not because they were publicly funded so they were going to their wages paid anyway.
Eventually I stopped going like many others and never stepped foot in the place again.
Well I am pleased Local Kendal Lass has some positive comments but at the moment you seem to be in a minority. I used to support the place probably more than most. That was until I witnessed poor customer service,staff inertia,a reduction in facilities, and hideously complicated pricing structures[they used to have 3 price bands plus on and off peak zones which makes five!]. I wondered why I was not only paying through my Council Tax and by being a member,then paying my admission fee and finally paying an exorbitant amount for the hire of equipment. Then I realised they didn't even care whether you came or not because they were publicly funded so they were going to their wages paid anyway. Eventually I stopped going like many others and never stepped foot in the place again. Whinfell
  • Score: 0

11:11am Tue 8 Jan 13

lancashirelife says...

I've turned up once with out my membership card, and was laughed at as I trudged off into the rain.

I like the centre but often find some of the staff a real let down, computer systems that don't work, you just want to pay for something and get on with it but are stuck behind someone umming and ahhing over writing a check for a half-term course for their child.

The gym would have an immediate full-time membership from me if they'd added a few more versatile items of equipment instead of replicating what they already have, but I hear they don't want to encourage serious trainers - it's not their market. I use them occasionally because they have one or two items which are useful, and their opening times now they have reverted back to earlier mornings are convenient. It appears they are bringing in some sort of concession card, which staff were unable to tell me much about and looks like it could be a bit complicated.

Keep it simple Lake Leisure and be a bit more friendly and dynamic when you greet your customers. I've seen people almost crying with frustration at them in reception. Also witnessed receptionists see a customer at the desk, then slowly saunter to the other end of the counter and eventually announce "This till please".

Take care of your customers and they'll appreciate it.
I've turned up once with out my membership card, and was laughed at as I trudged off into the rain. I like the centre but often find some of the staff a real let down, computer systems that don't work, you just want to pay for something and get on with it but are stuck behind someone umming and ahhing over writing a check for a half-term course for their child. The gym would have an immediate full-time membership from me if they'd added a few more versatile items of equipment instead of replicating what they already have, but I hear they don't want to encourage serious trainers - it's not their market. I use them occasionally because they have one or two items which are useful, and their opening times now they have reverted back to earlier mornings are convenient. It appears they are bringing in some sort of concession card, which staff were unable to tell me much about and looks like it could be a bit complicated. Keep it simple Lake Leisure and be a bit more friendly and dynamic when you greet your customers. I've seen people almost crying with frustration at them in reception. Also witnessed receptionists see a customer at the desk, then slowly saunter to the other end of the counter and eventually announce "This till please". Take care of your customers and they'll appreciate it. lancashirelife
  • Score: 0

11:40am Tue 8 Jan 13

KCastleestate says...

Whinfell wrote:
The Leisure Centre has been a shambles for years. The staff need lessons in customer service. The swimming pool is dire. The changing rooms are appalling. There is little to attract a wider range of people to go there. It is a waste of local taxpayers money most of whom don't even go there because it is so useless. How about knocking it down and building some affordable housing there instead?
I've have spent most of my adult life at Kendal Leisure Centre for one reason or another. Whether it was swimming lessons, school plays, sports days, concerts or just going to the gym.

Whenever I've been (no matter how old!) the staff have been so welcoming and helpful - and still remain that way today.

I really don't know what Leisure Centre you've been visiting "Whinfell" but it definitely isn't KLC. It would be a horrendous shame to lose such a place especially to put up yet more crummy yellow houses - there are plenty of these in Kendal and the nearby area - we most certainly do not need more!

If we lose KLC where is there to go to swim? Castle Green? Waterside? The pool's are tiny and there would be no possibility of any decent swimming lessons and absolutely no space for floats etc for younger children.

Open your eyes and realise what a fantastic place KLC is!
[quote][p][bold]Whinfell[/bold] wrote: The Leisure Centre has been a shambles for years. The staff need lessons in customer service. The swimming pool is dire. The changing rooms are appalling. There is little to attract a wider range of people to go there. It is a waste of local taxpayers money most of whom don't even go there because it is so useless. How about knocking it down and building some affordable housing there instead?[/p][/quote]I've have spent most of my adult life at Kendal Leisure Centre for one reason or another. Whether it was swimming lessons, school plays, sports days, concerts or just going to the gym. Whenever I've been (no matter how old!) the staff have been so welcoming and helpful - and still remain that way today. I really don't know what Leisure Centre you've been visiting "Whinfell" but it definitely isn't KLC. It would be a horrendous shame to lose such a place especially to put up yet more crummy yellow houses - there are plenty of these in Kendal and the nearby area - we most certainly do not need more! If we lose KLC where is there to go to swim? Castle Green? Waterside? The pool's are tiny and there would be no possibility of any decent swimming lessons and absolutely no space for floats etc for younger children. Open your eyes and realise what a fantastic place KLC is! KCastleestate
  • Score: 0

12:30pm Tue 8 Jan 13

lakesleisure says...

Many thanks for all of the comments made. It is clear that as an organisation we have failed to meet some people’s expectations. Rest assured that customer service is one of our key priorities and the comments made will be used to inform and train staff.

Over the last 30 years the centre at Kendal has served over 7.5 million customers and we are really looking forward to working together with our community on innovative and exciting projects as we continue to develop the range of activities and initiatives offered by lakes leisure.

We would very much like to meet with anyone face to face who may have concerns regarding the service; anyone interested in taking up this offer can contact us at getactive@lakesleisu
re.org.uk to arrange a meeting at a mutually agreeable time.
Many thanks for all of the comments made. It is clear that as an organisation we have failed to meet some people’s expectations. Rest assured that customer service is one of our key priorities and the comments made will be used to inform and train staff. Over the last 30 years the centre at Kendal has served over 7.5 million customers and we are really looking forward to working together with our community on innovative and exciting projects as we continue to develop the range of activities and initiatives offered by lakes leisure. We would very much like to meet with anyone face to face who may have concerns regarding the service; anyone interested in taking up this offer can contact us at getactive@lakesleisu re.org.uk to arrange a meeting at a mutually agreeable time. lakesleisure
  • Score: 0

1:59pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

'I've turned up once with out my membership card, and was laughed at as I trudged off into the rain.' says Lakeleisure.
Charming!

This KCastleestate is just an example of the Leisure Centre I too once used to go to.

Even Lakleleisure says,' It is clear that as an organisation we have failed to meet some people’s expectations' So KCastleestate we know there must be a problem which needs adressing.

Another example of 'customer care' ocurred once on one of my many visits there.
I had finished a gym session and was about to leave the Leisure Centre when I retraced my steps up the stairs to retrieve something.
The 'delightful' receptionist thought I had left the building and proceeded to slag me off to another member of staff not realising I could hear every word from the top of the stairs.
Bear in mind I had never had any confrontation or problems with this member of staff at any time during my visits there.
She obviously just didn't like me and was sounding off, for all and sundry to hear, including myself.
It's a good job I have got a thick skin and I am a very patient person otherwise I might have done something both she and I regretted.
So you wonder what else they are saying about other customers when their backs are turned.
Yes Lakeleisure you certainly failed to meet my expectations!
'I've turned up once with out my membership card, and was laughed at as I trudged off into the rain.' says Lakeleisure. Charming! This KCastleestate is just an example of the Leisure Centre I too once used to go to. Even Lakleleisure says,' It is clear that as an organisation we have failed to meet some people’s expectations' So KCastleestate we know there must be a problem which needs adressing. Another example of 'customer care' ocurred once on one of my many visits there. I had finished a gym session and was about to leave the Leisure Centre when I retraced my steps up the stairs to retrieve something. The 'delightful' receptionist thought I had left the building and proceeded to slag me off to another member of staff not realising I could hear every word from the top of the stairs. Bear in mind I had never had any confrontation or problems with this member of staff at any time during my visits there. She obviously just didn't like me and was sounding off, for all and sundry to hear, including myself. It's a good job I have got a thick skin and I am a very patient person otherwise I might have done something both she and I regretted. So you wonder what else they are saying about other customers when their backs are turned. Yes Lakeleisure you certainly failed to meet my expectations! Whinfell
  • Score: 0

6:41pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Local Kendal Lass says...

I read your posts with frustration and amuzement 'Whinfell', and as I suspected (and as you quote) "eventually you stopped going and have never stepped foot in the place since"

Do you think it is fair, that you make all these comments about a service that you don't use, influence (negatively) comment feeds such as this and effect a service that we do use?

Perhaps you should pass comments when you are more informed on matters?

I say again The centre is a good facility and i would certainly like to make sure our town keeps its services like this.
I read your posts with frustration and amuzement 'Whinfell', and as I suspected (and as you quote) "eventually you stopped going and have never stepped foot in the place since" Do you think it is fair, that you make all these comments about a service that you don't use, influence (negatively) comment feeds such as this and effect a service that we do use? Perhaps you should pass comments when you are more informed on matters? I say again The centre is a good facility and i would certainly like to make sure our town keeps its services like this. Local Kendal Lass
  • Score: 0

6:56pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

I think it is clear that I have a thorough knowledge about the the Leisure Centre even if I don't use it anymore, like hundreds of other ex- users.
All the anecdotes we have read here ring true because I have either witnessed similar incidents or they have happened to me.
I used it for many years and eventually stopped going for all of the aforementioned reasons.
I may not use it now, but I am helping fund the place through my taxes so I think I am entitled to have an opinion on the matter.
Even the Leisure Centre themselves admit there is a problem which is why they are trying to sort it out.
Best of luck to them and the new manager.
He has certainly got a Herculean task on his hands.
I think it is clear that I have a thorough knowledge about the the Leisure Centre even if I don't use it anymore, like hundreds of other ex- users. All the anecdotes we have read here ring true because I have either witnessed similar incidents or they have happened to me. I used it for many years and eventually stopped going for all of the aforementioned reasons. I may not use it now, but I am helping fund the place through my taxes so I think I am entitled to have an opinion on the matter. Even the Leisure Centre themselves admit there is a problem which is why they are trying to sort it out. Best of luck to them and the new manager. He has certainly got a Herculean task on his hands. Whinfell
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Lakeuk says...

You've all got an opportunity for Lakesleisure to sort you out with a cup of tea in return from some constructive feedback

Customer service is what makes a company, last weeks ch4 The Hotel is an excellent training aid in what bad customer service is
You've all got an opportunity for Lakesleisure to sort you out with a cup of tea in return from some constructive feedback Customer service is what makes a company, last weeks ch4 The Hotel is an excellent training aid in what bad customer service is Lakeuk
  • Score: 0

1:50pm Wed 9 Jan 13

kendaliangirl says...

Spruce it up add a bowling alley and an ice rink. Make it affordable. Sit back watch people come. Oh no forgot to mention cant make it too big or else there'll be no space for the 4000 buses which come each year to visit K Village.!
Spruce it up add a bowling alley and an ice rink. Make it affordable. Sit back watch people come. Oh no forgot to mention cant make it too big or else there'll be no space for the 4000 buses which come each year to visit K Village.! kendaliangirl
  • Score: 0

1:58pm Wed 9 Jan 13

Whinfell says...

Agreed Lakeuk.
I saw the programme too and it made me wince!
Did you notice how the foreign waitress dealt efficiently and politely with the complaning hotel inspector in the restaurant?
Now that was a lesson in customer service.
Maybe the staff from the Leisure Centre should be made to watch it as part of a customer relations training programme.
Agreed Lakeuk. I saw the programme too and it made me wince! Did you notice how the foreign waitress dealt efficiently and politely with the complaning hotel inspector in the restaurant? Now that was a lesson in customer service. Maybe the staff from the Leisure Centre should be made to watch it as part of a customer relations training programme. Whinfell
  • Score: 0

5:13pm Sat 12 Jan 13

ellakathryn says...

Not enough public swimming in my opinion, I also think a slide or something would appeal to the families, as certainly when I was younger we avoided this leisure centre as the pool was boring for us kids.
Not enough public swimming in my opinion, I also think a slide or something would appeal to the families, as certainly when I was younger we avoided this leisure centre as the pool was boring for us kids. ellakathryn
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree