Author Topic: Highworth recreation centre in difficulties?  (Read 15701 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Steve Wakefield

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Gender: Male
Highworth recreation centre in difficulties?
« on: April 12, 2010, 08:51:56 AM »
http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8091788.Council_steps_in_to_help_leisure_centre/?ref=mr

I think the council had no option but to step in to safeguard the 400K loan from Swindon taxpayers. Its sad to see this happening as it is a nice little pool.



All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Ringer

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1802
  • Gender: Female
Re: Highworth recreation centre in difficulties?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2010, 09:17:30 AM »
I noticed that the article was up at 10.00 am yesterday Sun 11 Apr but the first two comments preceed its time by an hour or more? It could have been updated?

Quote
itsamess, swindon says...
8:02pm Sun 11 Apr 10

With this Council involved we can safely assume the centre will close.
With this Council involved we can safely assume the centre will close.
Report this post » ?? Register/Sign In »


Bobfm, South Marston says...
8:21pm Sun 11 Apr 10

The town is awash with fitness clubs and leisure centres, many with swimming pools, and most are in the private sector.

Most are fighting to keep members and have to adapt, whilst one can sympathise with the plight of the trustees, one has to conclude they have either been poorly advised, or perhaps didn't take any.

It would seem once again the rate payers could be picking up another huge bill.
The town is awash with fitness clubs and leisure centres, many with swimming pools, and most are in the private sector. Most are fighting to keep members and have to adapt, whilst one can sympathise with the plight of the trustees, one has to conclude they have either been poorly advised, or perhaps didn't take any. It would seem once again the rate payers could be picking up another huge bill.
Report this post » ?? Register/Sign In »


First one today
real -life, South Swindon says...
8:21am Mon 12 Apr 10

I have to agree with Bob, the tax payer shouldnt be asked to fund something that is run at a loss, this means it clearly isnt needed as people just dont go there. SBC should be more responsible with our money and run it as a proper business rather than a "charity" in cetain areas that dont pay their way.
To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print

Offline Muggins

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8535
Re: Highworth recreation centre in difficulties?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2010, 03:51:28 PM »
Wasn't there quite a lot of lottery money went in there too?  I'm afraid we are going to see a spate of community centres taken back.  No effective support for the committee's any more.  I'm not grumbling about SBC taking them back, but leaving local people to get on with it until they can't do any more than hand it over. 

SBC should be doing all they can to enable people to hold their community assets.  Even with support put in, whether thats funding or otherwise, it's cheaper than managing it themselves.



Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Bobby Bingo

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
  • Gender: Male
Re: Highworth recreation centre in difficulties?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 04:02:34 PM »
Wifi soaring in Highworth
Community Centre sinking.
Is this what the Tory Administration wants?
Bobby

Offline Ringer

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1802
  • Gender: Female
Does this mean another 600k of Swindon Council Taxpayers money may be given away? Does that mean that the taxpayers of Central, Eastcott, Parks, Walcot, and everywhere else in Swindon is to give the group that set up and run the Highworth Pool etc a bye on their debts? This is not Highworth council or its people  it is a group of trustees
Quote
Last year it was revealed the Highworth Rec ? run by the trust ? was £558,000 in debt and was under the threat of closure if a solution could not be found quickly.

Trustees identified that the business plan for the managing of the Rec?s facilities was flawed and unsustainable
 
that set itself up to modernise and run the pool etc They knew as trustees the risks all trustees do. This debt looks like it has increased at the rate of about a grand a week 558K then now 610K.

Is it fair that the debt should be written off? The Oasis could have done with that 600k of repairs to its roof or used more equipment for other leisure facilities. Discuss  http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8889065.Leisure_centre_thrown_lifeline/

If SBC cannot afford its leisure facilities as they make a loss get a subsidy and are seeking expressions of interest in the Oasis etc how can Highworth expect to succeed? Oh I see more money pumped in to subsidise it?
Quote
Swindon Council are also set to agree that it will subsidise the Highworth Rec by £105,000 per year, which will be in line with other recreation facilities that have swimming pools across the town.


Is this new money/spend? If so where is it coming from in the leisure budget?

To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print

Offline Muggins

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8535
This is a big blow for the Big Society and for other groups wanting to take over and run community assets. 

As it was almost the first group to attempt this too, my feelings go out to them.

Their failure to make a go of it with relfect on all of us. Wonder who theri support workers were?  Highwiorth is usually so good at this sort of thing.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline 20Eyes

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1997
  • Too fast, too deep, blah blah blah
Unless I've misread the article, this is a niche leisure centre (anyone know the monthly usage figures?) that's being badly run, has run up over half a million quid's worth of debt and requires at least £100,000 per annum in subsidies in order to remain open.

If that's supposed to represent 'Big Society', then it's just about the worst idea Cameron & Co have yet come up with and shows that you cannot simply hand hundreds of thousands of pounds over to people who have no idea what they're doing simply because their aims may seem well intentioned.

Potentially spending over £700k of our money keeping this unsustainable white elephant afloat would be a judgement call on the scale of the Wi-Fi debacle.
"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." ~ Potter Stewart

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
I agree with 20.

And, if the Highworth trustees are mostly 'friends of the conservatives' then I expect they'll be rescued by the Bluhnderbirds.  The local elections are approaching and Highworth tends towards the Bluh.   In fact, isn't Cllr Finualala Foley dating Steve Weisinger?  (Highworth Mayor/ex Mayor)

Remember that SBC is allowing Rikki Hunt to walk away from his share of the £400,000 lost to wifi and it doesn't look like SBC are pursuing the other Director of Digital City, a Mr Garry Perkins, or anyone from aQovia either.   (in fact did anyone from aQovia ever take their seat on the DC board?)

Sorry as I am that the Highworth wossname has run into trouble, (another crap business plan then?), the trustees will have been aware of the risk they were personally taking when they signed up to it.

If SBC take recovery action against the trustees then Highworth residents should press SBC to take similar action against the directors of Digital City which, as Highworths residents already know, is the Town's other big failure.

Offline PAV

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 386
But even with the Big Society, councils cannot simply jettison responsibility for the running of services to other groups?

Without known what the debts were run up against it's hard to comment exactly, but you'd think that surely SBC employ someone to manage the overall running of all council leisure facilities and the centre has a manager in its own right, one of whom should notice that a small leisure centre was haemorrhaging £50,000 a month.

Offline 20Eyes

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1997
  • Too fast, too deep, blah blah blah
It may also be interesting to know exactly how much money people have been paid in salaries, and for what.

If it transpires that Big Society (although, to be fair, the Highworth blunder probably pre-dates that) means handing out £600k's worth of loans that are then written off in order to allow a few chancers the opportunity to big it up around town for a year or two, I reckon they'll get quite a few takers.
"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." ~ Potter Stewart

Offline Muggins

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8535
This is exactly what we have been feeding in to the pot and what  the major naitonal  representative organisation of the Voluntary and Community Groups have been saying:  It can be cheaper and better for local groups to run things like the Highworth Rec, but the amount of responsibility it takes, just cannot be done without some funding and a lot of support.  So instead of getting it done cheaper (not free) by giving that support, they leave things to their fate.   

There is also a dirth of properly trained staff to support that, it's a specialist skill just like any other.  Don't be too hard on the group running it. There should have been a professional 'guide' working with them.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline swindoncentric

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 208
Why are the council doing this?

Can't they just wait for it to go bust and buy the organisation for a heavily reduced price?

They didn't bail-out the Freshbrook Community Centre organisation, why are they doing it in Highworth? Oh yes... politics, elections and vested bloody interests.

Welcome to the Rotten Borough.

Offline Ringer

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1802
  • Gender: Female
Unless I've misread the article, this is a niche leisure centre (anyone know the monthly usage figures?) that's being badly run, has run up over half a million quid's worth of debt and requires at least £100,000 per annum in subsidies in order to remain open.

If that's supposed to represent 'Big Society', then it's just about the worst idea Cameron & Co have yet come up with and shows that you cannot simply hand hundreds of thousands of pounds over to people who have no idea what they're doing simply because their aims may seem well intentioned.

Potentially spending over £700k of our money keeping this unsustainable white elephant afloat would be a judgement call on the scale of the Wi-Fi debacle.


20 do you know this is the best post of the thread so far on this subject short and to the point.  :clap:

Some of the comments on this appear rather well informed http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/8307870.Highworth_Recreation_Centre_s_trust_half_a_million_pounds_in_debt/
To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print

Offline Ringer

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1802
  • Gender: Female
Does anyone understand this about the Trustees changing the status? Does that mean the Swindon Borough council had nothing to do with this?
Quote
A SPORTS centre is seeking to change its status.

The Trustees of the Highworth Recreation Centre Charitable Trust are proposing to change from being a charitable trust to a private company with limited liability and charitable status subject to the approval of the Charity Commission.

 

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/1692983.Recreation_centre_plans_major_changes/

Did the business plan that the trustees had fathom this out at planning stage?
Quote
But it is running at a loss and Highworth Recreation Centre Charitable Trust believes only two per cent of the town’s 10,000 people are using the service.

Ann Lewis, the marketing officer for Highworth Recreation Centre, said: “It is hugely disappointing.

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/4552379.Tell_us_why_you_don_t_use_Highworth_pool/

A 400K loan from the borough now where have I heard that one before?
Quote
He said the Trust had anticipated being able to reclaim £200k of VAT from the cost of the build, but later found out this would not be possible. They also have a £400k loan from the borough council.


http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/8091788.Council_steps_in_to_help_leisure_centre/
To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print

Offline bobwright

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 640
I have another take on this after the Leader of the Council stated publicly this is the 'Best Budget this Town has ever seen' why was this not seen? Perhaps as others have seen this debt has been hanging around for some time. Leaving it out of the budget then forcing others to sacrifice more from their budgets would be unfair. I suspect if this is to be done fairly it will have to com from the reserves (like the Wyvern).

I suspect this will not be the last of calls on the council as organisations start to struggle with finances. The reserves are there for just this type of situation however the alternative of not doing nothing at all would and could produce hardship for trustees.

I think Highworth needs support as do all our wards I hope they do not get extraordinary help but sufficient help to be independent. Highworth has the right to facilities like the Link and the Oasis but within a cost controlled operation. I am sure some very well meaning people were involved I just wonder why they did not come forward sooner or perhaps they did but no one in the Administration listened.

Offline Ringer

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1802
  • Gender: Female
I have another take on this after the Leader of the Council stated publicly this is the 'Best Budget this Town has ever seen' why was this not seen? Perhaps as others have seen this debt has been hanging around for some time. Leaving it out of the budget then forcing others to sacrifice more from their budgets would be unfair. I suspect if this is to be done fairly it will have to com from the reserves (like the Wyvern).

I suspect this will not be the last of calls on the council as organisations start to struggle with finances. The reserves are there for just this type of situation however the alternative of not doing nothing at all would and could produce hardship for trustees.

I think Highworth needs support as do all our wards I hope they do not get extraordinary help but sufficient help to be independent. Highworth has the right to facilities like the Link and the Oasis but within a cost controlled operation. I am sure some very well meaning people were involved I just wonder why they did not come forward sooner or perhaps they did but no one in the Administration listened.


Bob read the adver links and look at this one http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/671773.Pool_hit_by_cash_crisis/  Bob are you serious that the population of 10,000 and the Town Council can support this venture? Without SBC its going to cost each household about a £1 a week. Is that fair. Maybe the administration listened as that link is dated January 2006 and the trustees  went ahead. Was that with the blessing of SBC? It must have been with their blessings/reservations but SBC let them proceed and loaned 400K.

As for voluntary organisations they can only hope to sustain themselves if they have measurable outcomes as the Tories will only direct funds to those that do.
To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print

Offline Ringer

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1802
  • Gender: Female
Why are the council doing this?

Can't they just wait for it to go bust and buy the organisation for a heavily reduced price?

They didn't bail-out the Freshbrook Community Centre organisation, why are they doing it in Highworth? Oh yes... politics, elections and vested bloody interests.

Welcome to the Rotten Borough.



Is your answer here? http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/8425553.___You_won___t_have_to_pay_bill_for_rec___/
To qualify for inclusion there is only one rule - something described must have been said to have happened. `If the facts don`t fit the legend, print

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: Highworth recreation centre in difficulties?
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2011, 02:07:21 AM »


Threads merged:  "Are SBC Tax Payers To Write OFF 600K For Benefit of Highworth Rec Trustees?" with "Highworth recreation centre in difficulties?"

I reckon this story is more interesting than it might at first glance appear.  :coffee:

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: Highworth recreation centre in difficulties?
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2011, 02:33:02 AM »

Yup, there's a story here.  Look at Highworth Conservatives  website and it all looks quite normal....

....but click any news link and you'll quickly notice that almost every single one of them, even ones tantalisingly entitled: 15/02/06 - Highworth Conservatives Support Pool Bid.....

Quote
All the Highworths Borough Councillors are fully supportive of the Trustees of the Highworth  Rec in their efforts to fund the refurbishment of the swimming pool .  The Trustees have done a ... Read More


.....are cunningly re-directed at stories about Justin Tomlinson MP.

I smell fish.

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: Highworth recreation centre in difficulties?
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2011, 02:40:22 AM »

SBC's site seems to be having similar 'problems':

www.swindon.gov.uk/leisuresport/highworth/leisure-highworthrecfitness.htm


Quote
Swindon Borough Council Council Web Site - Page Not Found ( 404 ) Error

We're sorry but /www.swindon.gov.uk/leisuresport/highworth/leisure-highworthrecfitness.htm

is currently unavailable. Swindon Borough Council Webmaster has been made aware of the problem and will investigate it as soon as possible.

The Swindon Borough Council Home Page can be found here

If you wish to make any further comments please use the FeedBack form.

Swindon Borough Council Web Team


Hmmmm