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 bookings – casual, block, club, and instructional courses.

For staff the most tiresome element was a policy for casual bookings whereby space could only be booked a maximum of 6 days in advance. The idea being that nobody could monopolise one particular time slot. The antithesis of customer service! Only partially successful in its objective.

The main components of the programme, in addition to the school PE programme, were: – casual athletics (the track was the north of Tyne training centre for a while); outdoor pitches (hockey and football training, practice, and competitive games plus netball matches); indoors (handball and netball training and matches, recreational badminton, basketball, tennis, weight training with loose weights, trampolining to advanced standard despite the limited ceiling clearance, and a variety of courses.

The centre adopted ‘percentage of available space used’ as its main performance measure (calculated manually each day from the booking sheets). The figures achieved were very high.

The centre did not target ‘numbers of visits’ or ‘maximisation of income’, although income and expenditure estimates had to be met!

There was one cash till capable of producing daily totals in each of 5 departments. No doubt the typewriter and the duplicating machine are now in a museum!

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