Agenda item

Wellbeing Centres Service – Promotional Offers


Councillor Catherine Hughes (Cabinet Member for Porth Gofal, Early Intervention, Wellbeing Hubs and Culture) presented the background to the report. It was noted that the proposal had been discussed prior to the budget. The Wellbeing Centres Service of Porth Cymorth Cynnar plays a critical role in providing opportunities that contribute to the health and wellbeing outcomes of our residents. One aspect of the Wellbeing Centres Service’s is the operation of the council’s leisure facilities. Encouraging residents to participate regularly in physical activity directly contributes to the improved mental and physical health of our communities and helps to build individual resilience and decrease reliance on health services.


The service generates income by charging for use of its facilities and access to the activity programmes it provides. In 2018/19 (pre pandemic) the income generated by the service equated to £752,673 of which approximately £176,000 was through membership packages (monthly set fee for various levels of access to swimming, fitness suite and exercise classes). Income Generation and Grant Aid accounted for 55% of the total cost of providing the Wellbeing Centre Service, with the remainder being provided by council core funding. As a non-statutory service, the Wellbeing Centre Service has to attract people to use its facilities. There are a number of factors that may influence where and when a person choses to be active and pricing is one of them.


Elen James reported that the service had been severely impacted over the last 2 years but different to some local authorities, staff were redeployed and have since returned to the service. All leisure centres and swimming pools in the county have re-opened and over 350 children have registered for swimming lessons with an additional 70+ children on the waiting list. Prior to the pandemic, the service had over 900 memberships, they now only have approximately 400+, therefore work is needed to market the Wellbeing Centres, in order to encourage people to return to exercise and feel safe in doing do. The proposal is to introduce short-term offers similar to other local authorities, to increase service users of all ages to return to use the facilities. It is difficult to give examples of fees as the offers will depend on the data collected, but examples of offers were presented to the committee.


It was noted there should not be much additional cost in running the centres with the promotions in place. The purpose is to attract more people regularly.


In response to a question regarding Hywel Dda University Health Board, Elen James clarified the local authority continued to receive contributions to support the National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS). It was reported yesterday at the Performance Board that there were over 300 new referrals. 16 weeks of support is provided and the intention is to encourage clients to continue using the facilities, after these 16 weeks, to help prevent further health problems. 


No information leaflets are sent with the Council Tax Bill but the service has a website, information is also available on social media and the press office share stories. It was highlighted that the community councils should be made aware of what was on offer for all ages, to be able to publicise the service locally.


The benefits of exercise sessions to individuals’ mental health was raised by Committee Members. Elen James noted that although the wellbeing centres had been closed, thousands of people have been involved / attended sessions over the last 2 years, both virtually and in-person. Over 2,000 people have participated in the wellbeing walks.


Groups held at community centres are encouraged to continue. It will be important for the local authority to work with them to ensure the public have various opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing.


Following questions by the Members of the Committee it was AGREED to delegate authority for the Corporate Director and the Corporate Lead Officer Porth Cymorth Cynnar, in consultation with the portfolio Cabinet Member to vary the Fees & Charges for 2022/23 to run short term/time limited promotional offers to incentivise more children, young people, individuals and families to participate in regular physical activity and lead healthier lifestyles.


Elen James agreed to report on the promotional offers in the new administration period.


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