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Health & Leisure Review - September 2019

Update statement from Cllr Mark Steele, Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Wellbeing , 6 September 2019

Cabinet (04/09/19) have supported the considerable work done to date on the review of Health and Leisure and we will now proceed to the first stage of seeking a partner from the market.

Our Expressions of Interest document (pages 181-204) outlines our desired aims for our local leisure facilities - we are looking for new ideas and improvements that enhance our leisure facilities.   We wish to achieve shared outcomes from the partnership, including affordable leisure facilities that continue to support active lifestyles and healthy living. 

In July, we asked for customer representatives to be part of a customer focus group, the first of these will be held in early October. 

The 'Expressions of Interest' is the very first stage of this process of partnering, which will help deliver our Health and Leisure vision. We are seeking a partner to manage the five health and leisure centres to help deliver a sustainable healthy lifestyle legacy for future generations.

Notes: The timetable for the stages of the procurement process is within the report: Expressions of Interest document

Health & Leisure Review Update - August 2019

Since our last update in July (see below), Members and officers have been working on the review and we are now in a position to start the process of requesting 'Expressions of Interest' from potential partners. This is the first stage of the procurement process and will be discussed at the Cabinet meeting on 4 September.  A further update will be added here after that meeting. 

Read the report to Cabinet here 

Health & Leisure Service Delivery Review - Statement, July 2019

Update statement from Cllr Mark Steele, Portfolio Holder for Leisure

We are about to undertake a full health and leisure procurement process, to see if there is a suitable partner to manage the five centres.  This follows a number of months of working on a detailed specification which includes service standards, monitoring process and community outcomes required for the Health and Leisure service.  At the same time, we are continuing to review our in-house service to see what changes we can make. 

We will ask providers in the market for 'Expressions of Interest'. It will be at this stage we will gain an understanding of what organisations are willing, and suitable, to partner with us to achieve our aims for the service.  Any bids will be back by the end of the year, and a decision on how to progress will be made around April 2020.

Our intention with this review is to secure a quality leisure provision for the district in the medium term. We regularly review what services and how we provide them at our centres, and listen closely to customer comments and recently we held ten customer forums.  I would like to thank the 150+ customers who came along.  Their questions were useful, constructive, challenging, and positive, and showed me clearly how much this service is valued by our community.   

You can see the questions and answers from those forums here.  As a result of a suggestion at the sessions, we will be setting up a customer focus group that we will keep regularly updated and meet with monthly.  If you would like to be a part of that group, please email with the subject line 'customer group'.  Please tell us what centre you are a member of or use regularly, and a line or two on why you would like to get involved in the customer group.   We hope the group to have representatives from all of the five health and leisure centres and the range of services we provide.    

We will hold more customer forums, for anyone to attend, later in the year, and you can email any comments or questions at any time to

For more information on the review please click here 

Changes to the way you book and cancel classes

From 1 January 2019 the Customer Services Centre will no longer process straightforward class bookings or class cancellations over the telephone. This service will now only be accessible online, via our Health and Leisure App or over the counter at our Centres.  To download our leisure app or register for Connect online click here.

Non-members whom have made a payment for a class booking and wish to transfer the booking to another date/time please call as usual for telephone assistance, pop into a Centre or, if available use our live chat service.

New customers who need to register for online services, please call for telephone assistance, pop into a Centre or, if available use our live chat service.

Membership renewal letters

From January 2019 we will no longer be sending membership renewal letters. These will be replaced with email reminders, therefore if you wish to continue to receive reminders, please ensure we have your correct email address on our systems. You can do this by either visiting reception, emailing or click here to update your details by logging into Connect and selecting 'My Account'.

Class cancellation period

After further consideration and listening to all customer feedback, we have decided to postpone the decision to change the cancellation period from two to six hours and we will now further review the situation in April 2019.  Unfortunately, for many reasons, the volume of late cancellations has historically meant that we have had difficulties in re booking many of these class spaces. Therefore, popular high demand classes are running with empty spaces when we have members frustrated at not being able to book with enough time to attend.  We often check booking sheets prior to the class beginning and are astounded that in some cases over 30% of initial bookings have cancelled their space within hours of the class commencing.

We are very aware that there are a minority of customers that block book and multi book classes, with the intention of 'deciding later' if they are going to attend.  This cannot continue and therefore forced us to re-consider our booking processes.  Unfortunately our IT booking system does not have the capabilities to recognise double bookings or regular members who serially cancel their bookings late in the day and we do not have the resources to introduce new systems.

Of course, we do understand that there will inevitably be circumstances beyond your control that result in cancellations.  However, once again, we ask that customers only book classes that they 'intend to attend' and we look forward to seeing a decline in last minute cancellations. 

If nothing else, this debate has raised awareness of the issues and we very much appreciate your feedback.