LED Community Leisure asks for Sidmouth’s support

LED Leisure is asking its members in Sidmouth for support during the coronavirus lock down.

LED, which runs Sidmouth Swimming Pool, is asking its members not to cancel their direct debits so that the organisation can continue to function once the lockdown is lifted.

Joseph Bulmer  sidmouth.nub.news

LED Community Leisure is a not-for-profit Community Benefit Society with charitable status.

The organisation’s charitable status does entitle it to some financial support from local councils but 90% of its income is generated by members, through its centres across East Devon.

As a result of the Prime Minister’s announcement on Friday, March 20, that all leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools were to close with immediate effect LED’s income has fallen dramatically.

In response to the announcement LED has ‘frozen’ all membership collections, including monthly direct debits. The suspension means that no payments will be taken and when members re-start their membership there will be no re-joining fee.

LED is asking members to, ‘please do not cancel your direct debit’.

LED’s CEO, Peter Gilpin, has made a statement to members, he said: “As you can imagine, the facility closures and suspension of membership income will have a very serious effect on our finances.

“The various government support initiatives are welcome. It is likely that most staff at LED will have to be ‘furloughed’, for example – i.e. laid off and paid 80% of their salary by the government – as LED will have virtually no ongoing income.

“Some key staff will need to be retained on site to keep the facilities operational, albeit in a state of ‘hibernation’, ready for when we have the green light to reopen. Some key administrative staff will also need to be retained as many services, support contracts and partnerships will need to continue.

“Whilst LED is taking every action to minimise or reduce costs during this period, it is inevitable that the Trust will need to rely upon its financial reserves to survive the next few months in order to be able to reopen facilities and re-employ furloughed staff in due course. However, like many charities, these reserves are finite, and it will be a challenge to ensure that LED gets through what will undoubtedly be a very difficult period.

“So, my purpose for writing is to give you the above update and to ask you if you would please give LED your continued support by opting to continue your membership subscription during these difficult times, which we have no idea how long they may last.

“If you would kindly do so, I shall take your loyalty and support into account in 2021 when it comes to next year’s fees, by which time I hope the worst of this should be over. This will take the form of an extension for Annual memberships and a payment holiday for monthly memberships equivalent to the eventual closure period.

“However, I do appreciate that for some of you, continuing your membership at this difficult time may not be possible due to your personal circumstances, in which case you need do nothing as your membership has been automatically suspended.

“If you would kindly agree to continuing your membership subscription and for us to reactivate your suspended membership, please confirm using this email link opt-in@ledleisure.co.uk

“Although our centres will be closed, the good news is that you can still exercise with LED Community Leisure. We have put plans in place to offer a range of exercise options to keep you active in the safety and comfort of your own home. For those at home with school-aged children, we will also have ideas for how you can have fun exercising together.

You can access a free streaming site with access to 95 workouts across 8 categories via Les Mills online.

We are also planning to run regular Facebook Live exercise at home videos for you to join in with.

Mr Gilpin added: “As a community leisure trust, we want to be in a position where we can reopen for our local communities as soon as possible, with all our team members back on board, after this unprecedented and worrying situation subsides.

“I do very much hope that LED can count on your continued support in order to ensure the sustainability of our services, facilities and staff beyond the current crisis, and thank you so much for your patience and support to date.”