Council's leisure team finalists in Flame awards

Denbighshire’s Leisure Services was delighted to have reached the final line up for a major industry award.

The Council was shortlisted for an UK Active Flame Award, for its work of transforming the Nova, Prestatyn. The Awards, which recognise innovation and excellence from across the leisure sector was held in Telford this week.

Although the team did not win, it was delighted to have been named as finalist.

Denbighshire County Council took over the Nova in January 2014 after the previous operators Clwyd Leisure failed to run the business successfully.  Rather than allowing the ageing building to deteriorate further, the Council decided to invest nearly £5 million into its refurbishment, which resulted in more than £4 million being spent locally.

The Council invested considerable time and effort in setting up the Centre, in time for trading to begin in December 2015 and have transformed the building into the state of the art, premier leisure facility along the North Wales coast.  This investment has reflected the Council’s continued commitment to investing in its leisure centres county-wide.

The  facilities at the Nova included a 60 station fitness suite, three storey soft play zone, multi-purpose studios/suites - capable of hosting events and functions, a café and adjoining ‘Guisto’ restaurant, beachside retail units and wi-fi throughout the building.

The Nova in numbers:

  • Nearly 5,000 people visited the Centre in the first two weeks of opening, with 40% using the play facilities, 35% for swimming and 25% using the fitness zone.
  • 57 swimming classes a week have been held there and there was an  100% increase in the swimming lessons enrolment in the first six months.
  • There has been a 31% increase in the number of clients assessed as part of the GP referral scheme.
  • The response from customers was phenomenal with 13,500 contacts in the first month of opening alone. 
  • There was over 3,400 likes on Facebook, with extremely positive comments about the décor, the quality of refurbishment, the play area and swimming lessons. 66% of Trip Advisors rated the facilities excellent or very good.
  • Over 26,700 people used the play area in the first six months, with 165 birthday parties being held there in the same period.

Leisure Services have a positive track record of transforming its leisure facilities and redeveloping sites across the county, generating increased footfalls, exceeding membership targets and achieving break even running costs in a number of similar facilities.

Councillor Bobby Feeley,  Cabinet Lead Member with responsibility for Leisure,  said: “I would like to congratulate the whole Nova team and colleagues in leisure services for their outstanding achievement. They have clearly demonstrated how teams can work together to transform a failing facility into a hugely successful business and one that is recognised by the industry.

“The feedback from staff and visitors has been extremely positive and is seen as not only a good employer providing quality local jobs, but also as an exemplar centre providing first class leisure facilities for local residents and visitors.

“To be shortlisted as finalists is a triumph and long may the success of the Nova continue for future generations”.

Jamie Groves, Denbighshire’s Head of Facilities, Assets and Housing, said: “Eight years ago the Leisure Service was considered to be in special measures, despite which the Council resisted temptations to externalise and instead took the decision to invest in the Service,  believing it could provide a much better offer and one that was commercially sustainable.

“Eight years on the Nova is an example of how a Council can deliver a successful leisure service.  The model continues to build from strength to strength, with a new £15 million water park  on the horizon and Denbighshire taking the lead with the UK Leisure framework”.

Posted on Monday 3rd July 2017