Positive new start at the National Water Sports Centre
There has been a solid start to life at the National Water Sports Centre since a new management contract began earlier this year.
In April, Serco secured a contract from Nottinghamshire County Council to manage and operate the National Water Sports Centre until the year 2034.
Serco’s leisure business acts as the management agent on site for a newly formed trust, Holme Pierrepont Leisure Trust, and the contract features a £6.7m capital investment programme which includes £1.6m from the county council and £826,000 from Sport England.
The leisure trust have reported to the County Council that user figures at the centre are up this year compared to the same period last year. The weather has helped and it has been a great year for white water rafting – (usage is up 122% on July 2012), and pay and play activities on the main lake (also up on figures from last year).
The centre has also organised over 30 major events, such as the Powerboat Championships, Dragonboat National Cup Finals, and the British and Club Freestyle Championships, which have been a success.
Newly introduced activities which include Segway and bicycle hire and an e-combat course have been operating on site during the busy summer period and are proving successful. Other key improvements and developments planned for the site will take place over the winter period.
Councillor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said:
“The new contract has been operating for five months and has all started well. County Council staff who transferred to the new organisation have reported positively about working for their new organisation.
“Although there has been little visible change on site currently, the majority of the capital works are now well underway, so we expect to see a major transformation by April 2014.”
Brian Taylor, Chairman of Holme Pierrepont Leisure Trust added:
“We are thrilled that both the improvements we are making are having such a positive impact and attracting more local people and visitors to the National Water Sports Centre.”
Keith Thomas, Managing Director for Serco’s leisure business said:
“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff, we are making excellent progress at the centre. There is much more to be done, and we have a busy six months ahead, but the changes we are making we create a truly world-class sporting facility.”
Key works planned for the winter period which will be completed by April 2014 include:
• Refurbishing all residential accommodation on site
• Refurbishing the main building including reception, offices, café, bar, toilets, community and performance gym
• New camping pods and log cabins
• Creation of a new ‘Sky Trail’ family adventure course, and an adjacent ‘Family Zone’ to include a new catering offer
• Creating new drying rooms for water sports customers
The county council has secured a surplus profit share with Serco Leisure and the Trust, if the centre’s performance exceeds expectations over the coming years. The County Council also expects to save £14m in revenue costs over the lifetime of the contract.