Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Brug Newsletter July 2015

Funding the Rec: Facts and Myths

Many stories circulate about who finances the Rec and the state of the building. We've done a helpful summary of the myths and facts...

The Council subsidises the Rec. The Council repeatedly argued it could not afford to continue to subsidise the Rec when it was threatening to close it in 2012.
Fact: The Rec users who visit 700,000 times a year generate considerable surpluses. Under the GLL/ Lambeth Leisure Centres contract, revenue from Rec users is divided three equal ways. One- third goes to GLL to cover all day to day costs of running the Rec; one-third goes to the joint GLL Lambeth Rec Development pot, which for example paid £ 204k towards the recent Rec refurbishment; and one-third does into general Council coffers to help fund for example the freeze of the Council Tax. Last year £500,000 went into each pot.
Myth: The Rec is getting near the end of its life.
Fact: A recent building survey has found that the Rec is structurally sound. It was built to high standards.
Myth: It would cost too much to maintain and bring the Rec up to modern standards.
Fact: The Rec needs ongoing maintenance and refurbishment as recently with the boilers and the new entrance. Users pay for this via the Joint Rec Development Fund collected from user charges. For example the recent £540K cost of new gym equipment and reception area was paid for from this fund.
The Rec also needs major long term capital investment: ventilation and wiring are coming to the end of their life; external access does not meet modern standards; and it needs to be made far more energy efficient. BRUG are making sure users have a voice in this. We has been closely involved in evaluating initial studies of what and how it is to be done and to what standards. We held a productive open workshop for Rec users on the first 'feasibility study' last October.
Lambeth Council is now deciding a proposal to invest £6m. The statement and proposal to Cabinet in late July is
' ...additional investment of £600k in further improvements is planned for 2015/16. Further maintenance and repairs in the order of £6m, based on engineers’ surveys, are required to keep the building open. This is while detailed reports are concluded to identify the scale and costs of the refurbishment required to secure the long term future of the BREC, to make it fit for the future and the next generation of Lambeth’s residents.
It is proposed that the £6m will be added to the council’s pipeline of capital investment. Further work will take place to firm up the detail of the works required from the engineers’ surveys...'
BRUG will keep you informed as this process unfolds. 

Rec exercise classes

Darren Pope, the Rec General Manager, is arranging for 8 extra yoga, pilates and core stability courses as a result of a review of provision following a recent survey.

GLL conducted this survey after much pressure from BRUG and repeated user dissatisfaction. BRUG and Darren agreed a simple form. He ran the first survey in the two weeks from May 22 to June 5, to ten different types of classes in studios 1 & 2. 109 people responded. One third attended the Age UK Club Dance in studio 1, which is very popular and free. Almost one quarter attend yoga classes. The remainder attended aerotone, 20:20:20 fitness and other physical fitness classes.

94% rate their classes as 'very good' but nearly one in ten said their class did not start on time. Six out of seven find studio 1 (level 6) 'good or very good'. But only half said this of studio 2 (level 1). Heat and ventilation were cited as the main problems with studio 2.

Darren has now prioritised air conditioning for studio 2 in next year's improvement budget. He is also actioning many other issues - like replacing the water fountain on level 1, also repeatedly complained about to BRUG by squash players.

BRUG continues to press on the problems users have booking exercise classes on the GLL/Better online system. The problem is that it is a GLL-wide website, which cannot be altered locally. Exercise class attendees complain to GLL about its booking service on the website.

Full details of survey and resulting actions at
The Rec Open Day broke new ground this year with 546 taking part in the free tryouts of new activities. For the first time, GLL/Better organised sessions with Brixton Topcats Basketball Club, Brixton Ballers Wheelchair Basketball Club, Afewee Boxing Club, X-Posure Dance Club, Fulham Football Club, London Early Years Foundation, England Squash and Racquet Ball, and Brixton Fencing Club. Full report at
Happy Birthday to Afewee Boxing Club, now one year old. They started with just a few small classes. Now they have a boxing ring and so much demand, they're having to add in extra sessions. They'll be running more adult and kids' classes from the start of the new season in October. Like them on Facebook for more information and go box with them - it's fun! 
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