We announced in October 2018 that a Members’ Forum had been established to give the Club feedback about issues raised by members. The Forum comprises six members, Jackie Geoghan, Nigel Goodall, Anya King, Graham Lawrence, Emma Picton and Kathy Wiffen, and it meets with the Club’s senior managers each quarter.
The Forum held its first meeting in January and it met again at the end of April. At the April meeting we discussed members’ requests for more information about the Forum and action taken by the Club in response to feedback. We have summarised below the key points from the meetings in January and April; in future a similar summary will be sent to members after each Forum meeting.
Booking, cancellation and check-in
At both meetings the Forum has discussed the times at which classes can be booked online, particularly members’ requests that deadlines for booking and cancellation (before any class) should be the same. A range of options was considered, taking into account suggestions from members, and the Club has recently changed the deadlines. Members can now book and cancel any class up to one hour before its start time. For cancellations, this allows Club staff time to contact members on waiting lists; at present the Club’s systems do not allow this to be done automatically but we plan to introduce this in the future.
The Forum has discussed the penalty system which was introduced in autumn 2018; any member who does not attend a booked class – ‘no-shows’ – is charged £4. This was introduced to encourage members to cancel classes when they cannot attend, and therefore increase the number of spaces available for others. The Club collects all of the £4 penalties paid by members and each quarter it donates the total to a local charity. The penalty system has significantly reduced the number of no-shows, which is good news, and the first quarterit has resulted in £552 donated to the British Heart Foundation.
The Forum members have passed on feedback from parents who have asked the Club to improve the system for booking classes for children. Parents would prefer the online system to give a single view of all classes booked for them and their children, rather than having to book and cancel through each child’s account. In June the Club plans to improve the system but no single view will be possible until the system is replaced in the future. The Club was asked to remind parents that they can book and cancel classes by telephone or at reception; cancellations can also be notified by Facebook message or through this dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the past it was sometimes difficult to call the Club but we have introduced additional telephone lines so that we can answer more calls.
There have also been discussions about members’ use of the new check-in booths at reception. Some members have told us through the Forum that they are unsure as to how to use the booths so in the future we will have members of staff on-hand at busy times to encourage the use of the booths and to show members how to do so. This will reduce the queues at reception for those members who want to check-in there and it will allow the receptionists to answer telephone calls more swiftly.
The Forum considered a suggestion from some members that instructors should give more feedback on technique, posture, etc. It can be difficult for instructors to know which members welcome feedback and which don’t so it has been suggested that each member in a class should be given a card to be placed on the floor, green to indicate that feedback is welcome and red to show that it is not. This could be introduced in the Fitness Suite too. The Club’s managers will discuss these suggestions with instructors and then feedback to the Forum at the next meeting.
The Forum has received suggestions for post-class stretch and warm-down sessions for members who want to attend them. We agree that such sessions would be helpful so we will consider whether they can be introduced but this may not be possible within the space available. Once the Club has expanded its facilities through the planned development project, these and other classes may be introduced.
The Forum has discussed timekeeping in classes. On occasions some members arrive late for classes, sometimes more than 10 minutes late, which can be disruptive. While we understand that this is sometimes unavoidable, it is important to avoid interruptions so we have decided that anyone arriving more than five minutes after the start of the class will not be allowed entry. No fine will be issued in these circumstances, though. Also in relation to timekeeping, for some classes, particularly Body Pump, members booking for the first time will be asked to arrive 10 minutes early to have a tutorial from the instructor.
We are aware that during some classes, the gymnasium in particular can become very hot. The Forum has asked us to introduce additional fans so we are considering how best to do this. Through the planned development project for the Club it may be possible to improve the air conditioning in the gymnasium and sports hall.
Issues for parents and children
The Forum reported that after-school classes are restricted to children aged five years or more but many children are four years of age when they start school. The Forum suggested that the minimum age should be the same as statutory school age, which the Club has agreed and is now in place. However, for some classes the Club must comply with other applicable rules apply so the minimum age may be higher.
Through the Forum members asked for additional baby-changing facilities. In response, the Club has installed two new baby-changing units, one in a cubicle in the female changing room and one in the male area. However, members have requested that the unit in the female changing room should be moved from cubicle to the open area because it will be easier to use and will avoid women having to use the benches positioned there. The Club agrees with this suggestion so the baby-changing unit will be moved soon.
Members reported that the television screens on some equipment in the Fitness Suite had been broken for some time. The equipment is maintained for the Club by Technogym. There was a delay in Technogym responding to our requests to repair the screens, and some other equipment, but this has been completed recently. We have also improved the servicing arrangements for the new spin bikes which were introduced recently.
At both of its meetings the Forum has discussed cleanliness at the Club, particularly the male and female changing rooms. Members have told the Forum that at busy times, when several classes finish simultaneously, the changing rooms’ floors become dirty. The Club is aware of this and is considering options for more regular cleaning throughout the day, to supplement cleaning which is already in place at the beginning and end of each day.
The Forum has discussed members’ feedback about swimming pool opening times, particularly the changes which occur each school term. The school’s requirements for the pool change each term and the Club is required to accommodate them but it was agreed that these changes should be more clearly communicated to members.
Through the Forum members have asked for replacement Swimfit cards because they have become worn. New cards have recently been purchased and made available in the pool.
Some members, particularly those who are new to the Club or to swimming, have asked for additional signage in the changing rooms so that the doors to the pool area are clearly marked. The Club will be introducing such signs and improving directional and other signage throughout the Club in the near future.
Communication with members
The Forum has reported that many members welcome the email newsletters sent by the Club, and communication on Facebook and Twitter, but some members have told us that they would like more frequent communication. We are considering the best approach to this so that we provide more information, more regularly, but avoid sending too much to members. The Forum will also discuss future communication with members about its meetings and issues covered.
Project and other developments
We have carried out a public consultation for the expansion project. The two evenings that we hosted here at the Club gave us an opportunity to discuss the changes we have made to the plans with our members, local residents and the wider community.
We have also had our plans for the outdoor fitness area approved last week and we are hoping to start work in the coming weeks.