Latest
issue
GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window I've already subscribed!
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

HCM People: Jamie GrovesMD, Denbighshire Leisure

Denbighshire Leisure’s turnover has increased by 25 per cent since 2021, so the developments have paid for themselves and more

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 1
Groves says the Framework can transform facilities / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
Groves says the Framework can transform facilities / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
As a non-statutory service, leisure has lost a lot of experienced senior people over the last decade

You won the Jan Spaticchia Award for the UK Leisure Framework recently, what is the framework and how did it come about?
In 2009, I’d been appointed head of leisure at Denbighshire County Council and the department was in a lot of difficulty. At the time it was considered one of the worst in Wales and we were struggling to afford the basics. I knew the only way forward was to think more commercially.

The idea for the UK Leisure Framework popped into my head while I was on holiday: a mechanism for local authorities which provides a turnkey solution to create facilities which then deliver a commercial return. Existing frameworks tended to be limited to construction, rather than geared to delivering a full leisure package.

The dual purpose was to help local authorities build sustainable facilities and to leverage investment into our cash-strapped department. In a local authority environment, trying to operate more commercially was an ambitious approach, but the Framework helped us completely transform our facilities and culture.

In 2019, Denbighshire Leisure launched as a company in its own right, and has continued to thrive, becoming recognised as an industry leader.

How does the process work?
Our partner, Alliance Leisure, manages and operates the framework and work with the local authority to determine the right solution and the feasibility, work out business cases, establish costs and how the investment will be paid back, assessing what type of facility would be commercially viable, while still delivering on the clients’ objectives.

Once the business case is approved, Alliance Leisure commissions more detailed planning and eventually manages the construction. It works with local authorities to establish business case targets, so we can support marketing, rebranding of the entire offer. Alliance goes beyond the concept and the build to ensure the clients achieve the agreed business case levels.

What results have you seen so far?
We've delivered 105 projects, with a total value of £136m. Projects valued at £500m are in development or at the pre-construction stage.

The Framework has seen approximately £30m invested in Denbighshire over the last decade and since its launch our company has grown from 250 to 750 people. Some of the leisure stock we’ve redeveloped had been on the cusp of closing.

Denbighshire Leisure delivered its SC2 waterpark, in Rhyl, through the Framework. An economic impact assessment of the investment found footfall through the town centre had increased by almost 300,000 visitors, so local businesses have benefitted and jobs have been created.

One major store in Rhyl, which was the biggest loss maker in the chain received a £1m investment as a consequence of the leisure development in the area and is now one of the busiest in the group.

Caravan parks also tell us they're full as a consequence of our investment. The developments have clearly delivered significant economic benefits to the town and surrounding businesses and helped generate confidence from the private sector to invest as well.

Our ageing theatre was costing close to £1m a year to run. With only 1,000 seats there’s a limit to how many acts you can attract because of the return. Using the Framework, we refurbished the theatre and developed the restaurant, which has now made the theatre commercially sustainable and enhanced the experience for audiences.

Further down the coast we transformed Nova, from a traditional pool into a multifaceted destination, with a Beach Hut restaurant and four Costa outlets. It has a new play structure, a pool, indoor restaurant and a premium health club. Nova went from a loss-making, ageing burden for the local authority to a profitable, seafront destination. The restaurant used to generate £20,000 a week and now generates £107,000 a week.

As a consequence of these investments, Denbighshire Leisure’s turnover has increased by 25 per cent since 2021, so the developments have paid for themselves and more.

Why do local authorities use the UK Leisure Framework rather than going solo?
Initially, there was some scepticism around the Framework – partly because I was only 30-years-old – but in light of its fantastic achievements, confidence in the process is now high. It delivers what it says – sustainable solutions and expertise from start to finish – and removes a lot of the risks.

Also, the leisure industry has suffered from a loss of expertise. As a non-statutory service, leisure has traditionally been passed around within local authorities, which sadly, over the last decade, has led to the loss of a lot of experienced senior people and experts in the field. The Framework offers professional leisure experts who help to plug this gap and sector specialists who make sure these facilities are the right fit and the right solution. These are passionate people who understand the current and future needs of the leisure offer.

How does it work financially?
Although the Framework receives a management and an administration fee, it is cost-effective for local authorities, because the expertise offered at the front end means concepts and outline designs can be generated without incurring the huge and in many cases abortive, fees which have traditionally been the norm. If the concepts are taken forward through the various stages, local authorities will pay for the services associated with project management and construction.

How did you feel about winning the UK Active award?
Truly honoured. I’m incredibly proud of the amazing work we’ve led on over the last 10 years and appreciate the hard work, determination and dedication of the whole Denbighshire team which has brought us to this point. It was a strong field, so it was great to receive recognition for the company and an endorsement that DLL and Alliance Leisure have been doing something right for the past 12 years.

We need to thank UK Active for recognising how the Framework has changed the industry. It’s been a challenge and we’ve come up against lots of scepticism along the way.

The award recognises that we’ve delivered something which is making a significant difference nationally and something which has created a legacy for many generations to come.

The UK Leisure Framework has been a game changer in terms of developing leisure stock across the UK and I really didn’t anticipate it being this successful and this is largely down to our development partner Alliance Leisure which has helped us deliver a successful framework beyond anyone’s expectation. My original aim was to create something which could generate some investment into the non-commercial areas of our business and now the Framework is influencing the entire leisure industry.

How do you predict local authority leisure will fare this year?
Local authorities are facing tough times and leisure being a non-statutory function in the eyes of local government it’s always been exposed to risk to some degree.

This risk has increased at a time when budgets are so stretched, LAs are struggling to deliver statutory functions. But we’re used to dealing with austerity measures in leisure and it is a very resilient industry.

Even though consumers have less money due to the cost of living increases, we haven’t seen a real impact on our membership or footfall numbers as yet, and the spend per head is still reasonably consistent. Controlling cost will be key for most operators, alongside maintaining solid relationships with local authorities to manage contract expectations.

The Framework has seen £30m invested in Denbighshire / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
The Framework has seen £30m invested in Denbighshire / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
Nova in Prestatyn has been turned into a leisure destination / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
Nova in Prestatyn has been turned into a leisure destination / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
The Framework has had a national impact / Photo: Denbighshire Leisure
The Framework has had a national impact / Photo: Denbighshire Leisure
A more commercial approach can help LA facilities thrive / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
A more commercial approach can help LA facilities thrive / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/647294_763224.jpg
The creator of the UK Leisure Framework explains how he developed the concept and the impact it’s having
HCM magazine
New research has found BMI to be a highly inaccurate measure of childhood obesity, leading current thinking and policy based on it into question
HCM magazine
Imposter syndrome about a promotion taught the CEO of SATS that behaving authentically is the most important part of leadership. He talks to Kath Hudson
HCM magazine
I would say those results, along with the team’s total lack of complacency – their desire to keep improving – have been the two big highlights of my first year
HCM magazine
Basic-Fit – which has been scaling rapidly across Europe –  is considering franchising to ramp up growth further afield
HCM magazine
HCM People

Cristiano Ronaldo

Footballer and entrepreneur
Taking care of your physical and mental health is essential for a fulfilling life
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
We saw a 58 per cent growth in companies launching one of our schemes from 2022 to 2023, which demonstrates prioritisation of employee health and wellbeing
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
GymNation is pioneering the future of fitness with software specialist Perfect Gym providing a scalable tech platform to power and sustain its growth
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
The partnership between PureGym and Belfast-based supplier BLK BOX is transforming the gym floor
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Operators, prepare to revolutionise the way members connect with personal trainers in your club, with the ground-breaking Brawn platform.
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Nuffield Health has worked with ServiceSport UK for more than ten years, ensuring the equipment in its clubs is commercially optimised
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
The New Keiser M3i Studio Bike brings ride data to life to engage and delight members
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
D2F had updated its brand styling to keep pace with business growth. MD, John Lofting and operations director, Matt Aynsley, explain the rationale
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Francesca Cooper-Boden says health assessment services can boost health club retention
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
University of Sheffield Sport has opened the doors of its flagship Goodwin Sports Centre following a major refurbishment
HCM promotional features
Latest News
Operator Circadian Trust has launched a five-year growth drive designed to support health and wellbeing ...
Latest News
Norwegian health club operator, Treningshelse Holding, which owns the Aktiv365 and Family Sports Club fitness ...
Latest News
The HCM team were busy at the recent FIBO Global Fitness event in Cologne, Germany, ...
Latest News
Atlanta-based boutique fitness software company, Xplor Mariana Tek, has kicked off a push for international ...
Latest News
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has released new data on the US’ wellness economy, valuing ...
Latest News
The fitness sector’s pivot to active wellbeing is being discussed in a new weekly podcast, ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness has a new CEO – Colleen Keating. She will take up the position ...
Latest News
UK Active has announced details of its annual health and fitness industry awards ceremony, which ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Panatta to showcase innovation at major fitness and bodybuilding events in 2024
Panatta will consolidate its global presence throughout 2024 by attending a host of major industry events around the globe.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Webinar: Building a new energy future for the leisure sector
As one of the most energy-intensive industries in the UK, leisure facilities face a critical challenge in balancing net zero goals, funding and increased costs.
Company profiles
Company profile: Everyone Active
Everyone Active's aim is to get communities active, engaged and entertained through our wide-ranging activities ...
Company profiles
Company profile: PerformX Live
The unmissable business of fitness event. 21-22 March 2024. Tobacco Dock, London...
Supplier Showcase
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Power Plate UK press release: Power plate + red light therapy: life-changing ‘biostacking’
“We combine Power Plate and red light therapy in all our small group classes,” says Natt Summers, founder and owner of Accomplish Fitness in Hungerford, Berkshire.
Featured press releases
Zoom Media press release: Zoom Media expands partnership with Fitness4less
Zoom Media, the UK's leading provider of health and fitness digital media, has announced a new contract with Fitness4Less to deliver Out of Home advertising across its estate.
Directory
salt therapy products
Saltability: salt therapy products
Lockers
Fitlockers: Lockers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
10-12 May 2024
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
Diary dates
23-24 May 2024
Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

HCM People: Jamie GrovesMD, Denbighshire Leisure

Denbighshire Leisure’s turnover has increased by 25 per cent since 2021, so the developments have paid for themselves and more

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 1
Groves says the Framework can transform facilities / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
Groves says the Framework can transform facilities / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
As a non-statutory service, leisure has lost a lot of experienced senior people over the last decade

You won the Jan Spaticchia Award for the UK Leisure Framework recently, what is the framework and how did it come about?
In 2009, I’d been appointed head of leisure at Denbighshire County Council and the department was in a lot of difficulty. At the time it was considered one of the worst in Wales and we were struggling to afford the basics. I knew the only way forward was to think more commercially.

The idea for the UK Leisure Framework popped into my head while I was on holiday: a mechanism for local authorities which provides a turnkey solution to create facilities which then deliver a commercial return. Existing frameworks tended to be limited to construction, rather than geared to delivering a full leisure package.

The dual purpose was to help local authorities build sustainable facilities and to leverage investment into our cash-strapped department. In a local authority environment, trying to operate more commercially was an ambitious approach, but the Framework helped us completely transform our facilities and culture.

In 2019, Denbighshire Leisure launched as a company in its own right, and has continued to thrive, becoming recognised as an industry leader.

How does the process work?
Our partner, Alliance Leisure, manages and operates the framework and work with the local authority to determine the right solution and the feasibility, work out business cases, establish costs and how the investment will be paid back, assessing what type of facility would be commercially viable, while still delivering on the clients’ objectives.

Once the business case is approved, Alliance Leisure commissions more detailed planning and eventually manages the construction. It works with local authorities to establish business case targets, so we can support marketing, rebranding of the entire offer. Alliance goes beyond the concept and the build to ensure the clients achieve the agreed business case levels.

What results have you seen so far?
We've delivered 105 projects, with a total value of £136m. Projects valued at £500m are in development or at the pre-construction stage.

The Framework has seen approximately £30m invested in Denbighshire over the last decade and since its launch our company has grown from 250 to 750 people. Some of the leisure stock we’ve redeveloped had been on the cusp of closing.

Denbighshire Leisure delivered its SC2 waterpark, in Rhyl, through the Framework. An economic impact assessment of the investment found footfall through the town centre had increased by almost 300,000 visitors, so local businesses have benefitted and jobs have been created.

One major store in Rhyl, which was the biggest loss maker in the chain received a £1m investment as a consequence of the leisure development in the area and is now one of the busiest in the group.

Caravan parks also tell us they're full as a consequence of our investment. The developments have clearly delivered significant economic benefits to the town and surrounding businesses and helped generate confidence from the private sector to invest as well.

Our ageing theatre was costing close to £1m a year to run. With only 1,000 seats there’s a limit to how many acts you can attract because of the return. Using the Framework, we refurbished the theatre and developed the restaurant, which has now made the theatre commercially sustainable and enhanced the experience for audiences.

Further down the coast we transformed Nova, from a traditional pool into a multifaceted destination, with a Beach Hut restaurant and four Costa outlets. It has a new play structure, a pool, indoor restaurant and a premium health club. Nova went from a loss-making, ageing burden for the local authority to a profitable, seafront destination. The restaurant used to generate £20,000 a week and now generates £107,000 a week.

As a consequence of these investments, Denbighshire Leisure’s turnover has increased by 25 per cent since 2021, so the developments have paid for themselves and more.

Why do local authorities use the UK Leisure Framework rather than going solo?
Initially, there was some scepticism around the Framework – partly because I was only 30-years-old – but in light of its fantastic achievements, confidence in the process is now high. It delivers what it says – sustainable solutions and expertise from start to finish – and removes a lot of the risks.

Also, the leisure industry has suffered from a loss of expertise. As a non-statutory service, leisure has traditionally been passed around within local authorities, which sadly, over the last decade, has led to the loss of a lot of experienced senior people and experts in the field. The Framework offers professional leisure experts who help to plug this gap and sector specialists who make sure these facilities are the right fit and the right solution. These are passionate people who understand the current and future needs of the leisure offer.

How does it work financially?
Although the Framework receives a management and an administration fee, it is cost-effective for local authorities, because the expertise offered at the front end means concepts and outline designs can be generated without incurring the huge and in many cases abortive, fees which have traditionally been the norm. If the concepts are taken forward through the various stages, local authorities will pay for the services associated with project management and construction.

How did you feel about winning the UK Active award?
Truly honoured. I’m incredibly proud of the amazing work we’ve led on over the last 10 years and appreciate the hard work, determination and dedication of the whole Denbighshire team which has brought us to this point. It was a strong field, so it was great to receive recognition for the company and an endorsement that DLL and Alliance Leisure have been doing something right for the past 12 years.

We need to thank UK Active for recognising how the Framework has changed the industry. It’s been a challenge and we’ve come up against lots of scepticism along the way.

The award recognises that we’ve delivered something which is making a significant difference nationally and something which has created a legacy for many generations to come.

The UK Leisure Framework has been a game changer in terms of developing leisure stock across the UK and I really didn’t anticipate it being this successful and this is largely down to our development partner Alliance Leisure which has helped us deliver a successful framework beyond anyone’s expectation. My original aim was to create something which could generate some investment into the non-commercial areas of our business and now the Framework is influencing the entire leisure industry.

How do you predict local authority leisure will fare this year?
Local authorities are facing tough times and leisure being a non-statutory function in the eyes of local government it’s always been exposed to risk to some degree.

This risk has increased at a time when budgets are so stretched, LAs are struggling to deliver statutory functions. But we’re used to dealing with austerity measures in leisure and it is a very resilient industry.

Even though consumers have less money due to the cost of living increases, we haven’t seen a real impact on our membership or footfall numbers as yet, and the spend per head is still reasonably consistent. Controlling cost will be key for most operators, alongside maintaining solid relationships with local authorities to manage contract expectations.

The Framework has seen £30m invested in Denbighshire / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
The Framework has seen £30m invested in Denbighshire / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
Nova in Prestatyn has been turned into a leisure destination / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
Nova in Prestatyn has been turned into a leisure destination / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
The Framework has had a national impact / Photo: Denbighshire Leisure
The Framework has had a national impact / Photo: Denbighshire Leisure
A more commercial approach can help LA facilities thrive / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
A more commercial approach can help LA facilities thrive / photo: Denbighshire Leisure
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/647294_763224.jpg
The creator of the UK Leisure Framework explains how he developed the concept and the impact it’s having
Latest News
Operator Circadian Trust has launched a five-year growth drive designed to support health and wellbeing ...
Latest News
Norwegian health club operator, Treningshelse Holding, which owns the Aktiv365 and Family Sports Club fitness ...
Latest News
The HCM team were busy at the recent FIBO Global Fitness event in Cologne, Germany, ...
Latest News
Atlanta-based boutique fitness software company, Xplor Mariana Tek, has kicked off a push for international ...
Latest News
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has released new data on the US’ wellness economy, valuing ...
Latest News
The fitness sector’s pivot to active wellbeing is being discussed in a new weekly podcast, ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness has a new CEO – Colleen Keating. She will take up the position ...
Latest News
UK Active has announced details of its annual health and fitness industry awards ceremony, which ...
Latest News
Social enterprise, Places Leisure, which is part of the Places for People Group, has appointed ...
Latest News
Basic-Fit has signed up to trial Wellhub across its recently expanded Spanish network, giving access ...
Latest News
Having redefined the model of public-private collaboration in Spain, Go Fit is now expanding into ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Panatta to showcase innovation at major fitness and bodybuilding events in 2024
Panatta will consolidate its global presence throughout 2024 by attending a host of major industry events around the globe.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Webinar: Building a new energy future for the leisure sector
As one of the most energy-intensive industries in the UK, leisure facilities face a critical challenge in balancing net zero goals, funding and increased costs.
Company profiles
Company profile: Everyone Active
Everyone Active's aim is to get communities active, engaged and entertained through our wide-ranging activities ...
Company profiles
Company profile: PerformX Live
The unmissable business of fitness event. 21-22 March 2024. Tobacco Dock, London...
Supplier Showcase
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Power Plate UK press release: Power plate + red light therapy: life-changing ‘biostacking’
“We combine Power Plate and red light therapy in all our small group classes,” says Natt Summers, founder and owner of Accomplish Fitness in Hungerford, Berkshire.
Featured press releases
Zoom Media press release: Zoom Media expands partnership with Fitness4less
Zoom Media, the UK's leading provider of health and fitness digital media, has announced a new contract with Fitness4Less to deliver Out of Home advertising across its estate.
Directory
salt therapy products
Saltability: salt therapy products
Lockers
Fitlockers: Lockers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
10-12 May 2024
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
Diary dates
23-24 May 2024
Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
Partner sites