I’d been hearing negative vibes about Windsor Leisure Centre which was taken over by Parkwood Leisure Limited back end of last year.
Figured I should dig a little deeper, see what ammo it would give me for the campaign trail…
So last night I posted on a couple of Facebook Groups and Streetlife, asking “I’m looking to talk to folk who have been impacted by the changes at Windsor leisure centre… how have they impacted you?”
From the street I’d heard all the senior management had left, they had culled the £120 annual early swimming pass for pensioners, the canteen had been swapped for vending machines and there was general discontentment with the staff and customers.
The question ignited on one Facebook Group, the other was more slow burn and Streetlife has yet to wake up! 30+ responses mainly about the crèche, the fact it had closed and there was no facility for leaving kids while you train. Secondly the fact that when you phone up there is little response and no-one comes back to you and thirdly it was dirty with doors hanging off.
I decided to get down there for an early morning swim and investigate for myself… I’ve learned over many years in sales to never assume or base things on the comments of a few… you need to dig deeper…
The reality, I’m pleased to say, is very different. While there were a lot of teething issues with the new company, many of the previous concessions have been reinstated in line with government guidelines… so 65 for the early morning swim pass is back in at £120ish.
They have added lots of new equipment and while there are vending machines, they have a whole new kitchen and the menu appears balanced to a Slimming World regular who is tuning into what his temple needs! I’ve lost 2 stone 8 pounds since Christmas so am very fussy about my grub.
The regulars, I am one myself on and off, more of a sunshine morning swimmer than a 365er… I asked 5 people for their thoughts and they were positive. One wasn’t happy it had been farmed off and neither was I until this morning! That comes down to resistance to change… none of us like it much. Others were telling me it is costing them less. One chap said it’s getting better all the time.
It all looked very much cleaner to me… I didn’t inspect all the cubicles but mine worked and to be fair, they are getting on a bit now… seeing how they have spent money on the gym, I would imagine it is only a matter of time before the changing facilities are upgraded.
I spoke to one of the members of staff who I know from walking dogs in the Great Park. She said while there were teething issues, it’s very much back on track and the senior managers who have moved on were promoted. The staff are happy as Parkwood treat them well and all in all the leisure centre is heading in the right direction.
You can book your child in to the new day nursery for a few hours with a week’s notice. The nursery had run out of the old squash club which is now closing…
The cherry on the cake is that being a fat boy I can get a 3 month pass from the doctor for just £37 which will give me a full service with a professional instructor and monthly check ins to get me on the right healthy track… and all residents of the Borough can benefit from this… ask your doctor for more… just happened to bump into my old doctor in the pool 😉
So on balance, perhaps they need to have a professional communications centre, dedicated people responding to email and phone calls… otherwise good work Parkwood for listening to local residents needs and matching their expectations where you could.
Damn, I’ll have to find another stick to beat the incumbent councillors with!