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The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
The Leisure Media Company Ltd | Fit Tech promotion
features

HCM People: Jen Holland

CEO: Edinburgh Leisure

Edinburgh Council will have a £143m budget shortfall by 2028/29 and so must find ways to become more efficient

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 4

What appealed to you about the new role?
Having recently worked in the health and social care sector, I wholeheartedly believe in the critical role physical activity can play in improving health and wellbeing outcomes. Going forward, I see the sector as a critical partner in delivering improved outcomes in terms of the health needs of our population.

If we moved the whole system around to thinking about prevention and early intervention, we could have a huge impact on social care and health demand. I’d love to bring that change about.

It starts at a young age and requires us to remove the barriers to sport and physical activity, as well as building communities.

I strongly believe in the positive impact sport and physical activity can have for everyone and I’m passionate about creating opportunities for everyone to get and stay active.

What’s your background?
I’m a qualified accountant and from 2019 was the director of strategic commissioning and partnerships at Scottish Borders Council. Previous to that, I worked with various public sector and charity organisations, including Fife Cultural Trust, NHS Fife and Live Borders.

What are the main challenges?
The biggest challenges facing Edinburgh Leisure are being felt across the whole sector – public sector funding cuts against a backdrop of increasing demand for wider services to meet the changing health and wellbeing landscape, not to mention the need to invest in facilities to ensure they meet the demand of modern users.

Going forward, we need to shout about what we’re doing to tackle inequalities and get people active and living longer in better health. That’s a key part of what leisure trust outcomes are, which often isn’t recognised.

Tell us about Active Communities
The Active Communities programme supports 10,000 people a year to get active. There are specific programmes for different demographics: older adults, including Steady Steps for falls prevention, as well as people on low incomes – including children who have lived in care. It also welcomes children and young people, people living with disabilities, with concessionary rates and carers coming free and programmes to boost mental wellness – including supporting people with dementia.

What are some of the opportunities?
The Active Communities programme will be critical for us moving forward, so I want to do more to champion it. We need to ensure we’re at the table and talking collaboratively about the outcomes we want for this city and how we can support the agenda. We have so many programmes to help people live well, so ultimately prevention and early intervention reduces the need to access NHS or other public services.

There’s also an opportunity to work directly with acute services: hospitals have seen an unprecedented increase in demand and we need to start working more collaboratively with colleagues in the NHS to help reduce this demand.

We also need to harness the data available to lobby effectively, so decision-makers are fully informed about the benefits of physical activity.

The City of Edinburgh has just launched a draft Physical Activity and Sport Strategy to continue the work of reducing inequalities and is currently asking residents for their feedback in order to prioritise spending. Edinburgh Council will have a £143m budget shortfall in by 2028/29 and so must find ways to become more efficient, reduce costs and raise more money, or it may have to reduce or stop providing some services, so it’s important that residents influence these decisions.

The demand for Edinburgh Leisure is really high, so we need to continue with community engagement, marketing campaigns and collaboration to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the people of Edinburgh.

In terms of our estate, we've created a team to look at sustainability and ways to move towards Net Zero.

What trends are you seeing at the moment?
There is a lot of interest in sociable sports, such as pickleball. We offer this at a few of our centres, mainly during the day, by lowering the nets on our badminton courts.

Padel tennis is also on our agenda and we’re looking at opportunities for that and considering other new trends and our response for the future, including Hyrox.

Golf is another area of growth. It was declining pre-COVID, but is on the up now, so we see that as a huge opportunity. We have six courses and are looking at opportunities around coaching, development and adding technology, such as simulated driving ranges.

With £100,000 from SportScotland, we’re upgrading the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho, with new bouldering facilities, which will improve opportunities to progress at all levels of the sport.

The redevelopment will make Ratho the only climbing centre in the UK with Olympic-standard facilities for all three climbing disciplines: lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering.

Edinburgh Leisure operates more than 50 venues across the city

• 17 gym venues, hosting 750+ fitness classes and 250+ gym classes per week

• Royal Commonwealth Pool

• Meadowbank Sports Centre – that opened in 2022, replacing a facility which had previously hosted the Commonwealth Games

• 12 swimming pools including five Victorian baths. Edinburgh’s last remaining Victorian Turkish Baths

• 32 indoor and outdoor tennis courts

• 141 sports pitches

• Three soft play areas

• Europe’s largest climbing arena

• Six golf courses

• Community access to sports facilities and room hire at the city’s 23 high schools

Membership costs (per month):

• Climb membership: £54.50

• Climb and fitness: £77.50

• Full fitness: £59.99

• Fitness class: £45.99

• Gym only: £39.99

• Under 18s memberships: £14.99

• Young adult 18-24: £29.99

• Swim: £45.99

• Soft play: £18.99

• Annual golf season ticket: £588.50

• Golf bolt on: £34.25

Supporting refugees and migrants

Supporting access to all populations is an important part of Edinburgh Leisure’s work. In 2018, the Relocated People Access Programme was created in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council’s Refugee and Migration team to support relocated individuals new to Edinburgh.

Since April 2023, Edinburgh Leisure has supported 1,192 refugees to be active and there have been 19,502 visits to Edinburgh Leisure activities, with referral rates peaking in 2022.

In recognition of the high numbers of refugees accessing Edinburgh Leisure services and the contribution the programme was making to the refugees’ wellbeing, the City of Edinburgh Council awarded Edinburgh Leisure £100,000 for the programme in 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
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features

HCM People: Jen Holland

CEO: Edinburgh Leisure

Edinburgh Council will have a £143m budget shortfall by 2028/29 and so must find ways to become more efficient

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 4

What appealed to you about the new role?
Having recently worked in the health and social care sector, I wholeheartedly believe in the critical role physical activity can play in improving health and wellbeing outcomes. Going forward, I see the sector as a critical partner in delivering improved outcomes in terms of the health needs of our population.

If we moved the whole system around to thinking about prevention and early intervention, we could have a huge impact on social care and health demand. I’d love to bring that change about.

It starts at a young age and requires us to remove the barriers to sport and physical activity, as well as building communities.

I strongly believe in the positive impact sport and physical activity can have for everyone and I’m passionate about creating opportunities for everyone to get and stay active.

What’s your background?
I’m a qualified accountant and from 2019 was the director of strategic commissioning and partnerships at Scottish Borders Council. Previous to that, I worked with various public sector and charity organisations, including Fife Cultural Trust, NHS Fife and Live Borders.

What are the main challenges?
The biggest challenges facing Edinburgh Leisure are being felt across the whole sector – public sector funding cuts against a backdrop of increasing demand for wider services to meet the changing health and wellbeing landscape, not to mention the need to invest in facilities to ensure they meet the demand of modern users.

Going forward, we need to shout about what we’re doing to tackle inequalities and get people active and living longer in better health. That’s a key part of what leisure trust outcomes are, which often isn’t recognised.

Tell us about Active Communities
The Active Communities programme supports 10,000 people a year to get active. There are specific programmes for different demographics: older adults, including Steady Steps for falls prevention, as well as people on low incomes – including children who have lived in care. It also welcomes children and young people, people living with disabilities, with concessionary rates and carers coming free and programmes to boost mental wellness – including supporting people with dementia.

What are some of the opportunities?
The Active Communities programme will be critical for us moving forward, so I want to do more to champion it. We need to ensure we’re at the table and talking collaboratively about the outcomes we want for this city and how we can support the agenda. We have so many programmes to help people live well, so ultimately prevention and early intervention reduces the need to access NHS or other public services.

There’s also an opportunity to work directly with acute services: hospitals have seen an unprecedented increase in demand and we need to start working more collaboratively with colleagues in the NHS to help reduce this demand.

We also need to harness the data available to lobby effectively, so decision-makers are fully informed about the benefits of physical activity.

The City of Edinburgh has just launched a draft Physical Activity and Sport Strategy to continue the work of reducing inequalities and is currently asking residents for their feedback in order to prioritise spending. Edinburgh Council will have a £143m budget shortfall in by 2028/29 and so must find ways to become more efficient, reduce costs and raise more money, or it may have to reduce or stop providing some services, so it’s important that residents influence these decisions.

The demand for Edinburgh Leisure is really high, so we need to continue with community engagement, marketing campaigns and collaboration to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the people of Edinburgh.

In terms of our estate, we've created a team to look at sustainability and ways to move towards Net Zero.

What trends are you seeing at the moment?
There is a lot of interest in sociable sports, such as pickleball. We offer this at a few of our centres, mainly during the day, by lowering the nets on our badminton courts.

Padel tennis is also on our agenda and we’re looking at opportunities for that and considering other new trends and our response for the future, including Hyrox.

Golf is another area of growth. It was declining pre-COVID, but is on the up now, so we see that as a huge opportunity. We have six courses and are looking at opportunities around coaching, development and adding technology, such as simulated driving ranges.

With £100,000 from SportScotland, we’re upgrading the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho, with new bouldering facilities, which will improve opportunities to progress at all levels of the sport.

The redevelopment will make Ratho the only climbing centre in the UK with Olympic-standard facilities for all three climbing disciplines: lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering.

Edinburgh Leisure operates more than 50 venues across the city

• 17 gym venues, hosting 750+ fitness classes and 250+ gym classes per week

• Royal Commonwealth Pool

• Meadowbank Sports Centre – that opened in 2022, replacing a facility which had previously hosted the Commonwealth Games

• 12 swimming pools including five Victorian baths. Edinburgh’s last remaining Victorian Turkish Baths

• 32 indoor and outdoor tennis courts

• 141 sports pitches

• Three soft play areas

• Europe’s largest climbing arena

• Six golf courses

• Community access to sports facilities and room hire at the city’s 23 high schools

Membership costs (per month):

• Climb membership: £54.50

• Climb and fitness: £77.50

• Full fitness: £59.99

• Fitness class: £45.99

• Gym only: £39.99

• Under 18s memberships: £14.99

• Young adult 18-24: £29.99

• Swim: £45.99

• Soft play: £18.99

• Annual golf season ticket: £588.50

• Golf bolt on: £34.25

Supporting refugees and migrants

Supporting access to all populations is an important part of Edinburgh Leisure’s work. In 2018, the Relocated People Access Programme was created in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council’s Refugee and Migration team to support relocated individuals new to Edinburgh.

Since April 2023, Edinburgh Leisure has supported 1,192 refugees to be active and there have been 19,502 visits to Edinburgh Leisure activities, with referral rates peaking in 2022.

In recognition of the high numbers of refugees accessing Edinburgh Leisure services and the contribution the programme was making to the refugees’ wellbeing, the City of Edinburgh Council awarded Edinburgh Leisure £100,000 for the programme in 2022-23 and 2023-24.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

The team is young and ambitious, and the awareness of technology is very high. We share trends and out-of-the-box ideas almost every day
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

Bold move

Our results showed a greater than 60 per cent reduction in falls for individuals who actively participated in Bold’s programme
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

35 million people a week participate in strength training. We want Brawn to help this audience achieve their goals
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features