The 2019 State of the UK Swimming Industry Report reveals that the UK public swimming pool provision has not changed significantly in the last 12 months with 26 sites opening while 27 have closed. Based on figures gathered over the 12 month period to the end of March 2019, the 2019 report highlights that the industry has seen an increase in the number of swimming pools opening compared with the 22 of 2018. The 27 pool closures represent a slight decrease in the number of swimming pools closing compared to the 33 of the previous year.
Nuffield and GLL remain the UK’s leading private and public operators by number of sites with a pool. Public leisure trust GLL lead the way with 146 swimming centres, followed by Nuffield who have 111 clubs with a swimming pool. Commenting on the figures, David Minton, Director of LeisureDB said: “Although the total stock of swimming pools doesn’t change dramatically, year to year, the carrying capacity of the water keeps expanding. It’s very encouraging to see participation is growing across the industry.
“Operators have found that by differentiating the offering, improving the customer journey and providing digital solutions helps towards engaging the consumer both in and out of the water.” Although the total stock of swimming pools doesn’t change dramatically, year on year, the carrying capacity of the water keeps expanding. “It’s very encouraging to see participation is growing across the industry,” reflects David Minton. “Operators have found that by differentiating the offering, improving the customer journey and providing digital solutions helps towards engaging the consumer both in and out of the water,” he continues. “Some of the good news stories I’ve come across during the year all build on this triangle of increasing activity. Swimming lessons remain an insatiable item on the timetable and a major earner for all pools.” In the past 12 months, SLM (Everyone Active) saw 7.6 million casual swim visits across their 115 pools, an increase of 13%.
The number of people attending swim lessons every week grew to over 125k, a growth of 17%. GLL, with 146 pools, had over 20 million swimming related visits in 2018, 8% up on the previous year. Nationwide, GLL saw an 11% growth in swim school pupils; in Belfast alone, there was a 24% increase in the number of people taking up lessons. Just recently, GLL launched a campaign to encourage people to train as swim teachers; this initiative highlights the importance of pools to the local community. Fitness swimming, junior swimming and lessons all resulted in a 2% growth in participation for Places Leisure. Lessons (for children and adults) are up 4.2% whilst 46% of total adult swim visits are through a swim membership. Serco Leisure have diversified their swim offering to attract as many customers as possible and memberships continue to prove popular. Centres in Birmingham have seen lesson numbers increase dramatically; with more than 10,000 children enrolled, participation has almost doubled over the past two years.
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has signed a three-year deal with Everyone Active, the UK’s longest-established leisure contractor, to continue their commitment to training lifeguards. Everyone Active’s lifeguards will continue to be qualified in the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), which meets CIMSPA’s professional standard for lifeguarding. The deal also sees Everyone Active commit to upskilling its colleagues to become RLSS UK NPLQ Trainer Assessors. This will empower current team members to train the next wave of lifeguards coming through, as well as providing ongoing training to support their roles. Managing 50 wet site/pools across the UK, Parkwood Leisure currently teaches 43,000 children and adults to swim through its 7,149 weekly classes and is keen to expand its learn to swim provision countrywide.
Parkwood Leisure has renewed its three year partnership with the Institute of Swimming to support the growth and development of its swimming teacher workforce. The Institute of Swimming is the largest provider of Swim England qualifications and aquatics courses, training over 60% of all swimming teachers in the UK. They have over 35yrs experience and offer flexible, industry leading training, delivered by exceptional tutors. Their courses cover teaching swimming, coaching, aquatic health and fitness, and pool plant. The Institute of Swimming will not only recruit new teachers, providing them with Level One and Two Swim England accredited courses, but has also developed a bespoke conversion seminar for Parkwood Leisure’s workforce, to ensure their swimming teachers have an up to date skillset and are best placed to deliver the Swim England Learn to Swim framework.
Meanwhile, drowning detection systems remain a hot topic, according to the report. As systems improve and use artificial intelligence, the opportunity for an operator to utilise staff more effectively becomes a possibility. Technology also plays an important role in promoting swimming participation. Edinburgh Leisure discovered this after integrating their booking system with Gladstone. SwimIO, a popular app, develops a sense of community and drives return visits. Active in Time (AiT) enables users to book swimming at the touch of a button. The same integration, via AiT APIs, can put swim timetables onto any social media platform, TV screen or mobile app. Parents and children can also track their progression which boosts interest and gamifies swimming. SLM members, for example, can access their personal activity planner online to track swims and complete challenges.
EFFICIENT POOLS PAYBACK
It is now widely accepted that installing a heat retention cover is the single most effective means of reducing swimming pool energy consumption. Fit the right cover on your pool and you will see a reduction in energy bills of up to £20,500 per annum according to figures available from Carbon Trust, based on prices from a 2011 study of a 25m x 12m pool at 2018. Depending on the type of reel system you opt for, a payback period as short as 12 months can be expected. Edward Campbell-Salmon from Plastica said: “We have manufactured and installed thousands of commercial cover and reel systems from Olympicsized competition pools to freeform fun pools over the last 40 plus years. “Our customers benefit from our products having unique specification advantages as standard. “For example, on our commercial pool covers we provide hemmed edges, double welded seams down the length of pool covers (not the width), reinforced leading edges and stainless-steel reels. “All resulting in less stress on the covers to prevent fraying, delamination and tearing, as well as a reduction in general wear and tear and ease of maintenance.”
GOLDEN YEAR FOR GLOBAL SERVICE
Part of global giants Fluidra. AstralPool UK back up their unrivalled product offering with local technical know-how and experience. AstralPool UK is part of the Fluidra group that this year will celebrate its 50 year anniversary with more than 40,000 pool dealers in 170 countries and 2,000,000 pools using at least one of its 15,000 products. AstralPool UK has always been established in UK commercial pool market as one of the pre-eminent manufacturers and distributors of all related commercial water treatment products. Alongside the ‘bread and butter’ items such as pumps, PVC/Fittings and filters, AstralPool UK also have access to all other complimentary products associated with physical water treatment. AstralPool delivers everything that is required to build, refurbish and maintain residential and commercial pools, water parks, spas and wellness centres. With the breadth, depth and quality of its range. The local Fareham-based team includes technical experts, who, in some instances have over 30 plus years of experience, crucially, offering the back up and know how that commercial pool customers demand.
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