All posts by: Joanne Smith-Wood

About Joanne Smith-Wood

Practical realities of sports centre operation

Leatherhead Leisure Centre comprises a swimming pool complex, sports hall, six squash courts, indoor bowls, club rooms and social suite.  In its first years of opening (1975/77) the operation of the centre involved the following: Procession 10,000 members annually. Collecting £4,000 per week. 10,000 users per week of whom 45% were non-members. Dealing with 700 […]

Summerland and Maysfield – two terrible sports and leisure tragedies

Summerland – Isle of Man – August 1973 Although not strictly a sports centre, the family entertainment complex was the scene of a fire in which 50 people died, 80 were injured and nearly 3000 escaped. An enquiry established that the initial source of the fire was a result of smoking by young children. Key […]

Lightfoot Sports Centre – very early programming reflections

The first management requirement was to ensure that the local communities’ needs were met as ‘outsiders’ would have monopolised the facility given the chance! The presence of outdoor pitches enabled a policy of ‘no indoor football’. The programming of the indoor spaces was rationed in order to provide for different sports, and different types of […]

The Squash Story

From its origins in the mid 19th Century, the sport of Squash was largely the preserve of the privileged few from the public schools and the traditional universities. Courts often existed either as stand-alone buildings or as a block of 2 courts, frequently in conjunction with sports such as Tennis, Cricket, and Hockey, as part […]

The Royal Visit

It’s not every manager that gets to open a new centre. If that is not enough at Concordia we also got to have an official opening by HM Queen during her Sliver Jubilee Tour. As manager I would say that the public opening of the Centre was the most daunting but the official opening is […]

1968 – the earliest discussions on operational management of centres

The first ‘benchmark’ in the operational management of centres came as early as September 1968 when a Recreation Managers Symposium was held at Billingham Forum. This was a forerunner to the forthcoming formation of the Association of Recreation Managers. This was to be a new professional institute that, initially, was almost entirely focused on sports […]

Roger Quinton – Legacy Legend

Roger Quinton was a founding Committee and Council Member of both the Association of Recreation Managers and the Institute of Leisure & Amenity Management (forerunners of CIMSPA). Roger edited a dozen of the early editions of its ARM News and was elected Chairman of the Association of Recreation Managers in 1976-77, and then again in […]

Dr George Torkildsen – Legacy Legend

George Torkildsen was the founding father of recreation management and a pioneering ambassador for leisure. George was the first indoor community sports centre manager in the UK and went on to become the most influential manager, motivator, thinker, writer and consultant across the sports and leisure scene over a period of 40 years. He was […]