Leisure fees up – but SIV has trump card

Business Review''Steve Brailey, SIV
Business Review''Steve Brailey, SIV

SHEFFIELD’S biggest leisure operator this week announced a major shake-up in its pricing structure.

The cost of using the facilities of Sheffield International Venues will rise by up to 25% – but this will be largely offset if customers use a new leisure card.

Discounts for lifeCARD holders are being offered at places such as Ponds Forge, the English Institute of Sport, iceSheffield, Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre, Concord Sports Centre, Heeley Swimming Pool and Hillsborough, Springs and Stocksbridge Leisure Centres.

The card costs £3 until the end of the year, and then £5 for an adult and £3 for a junior (17 and under). It will also bring ticket deals for events such as concerts and sports activities and discounts from companies including Stagecoach Supertram and city hotels.

SIV chief executive Steve Brailey said: “Across the country, organisations are experiencing increases in costs and SIV is no different. In these challenging times, the introduction of the lifeCARD is designed to protect our customers from the price increases.

“It is not about charging more, but offering more, following suit from other successful schemes across the UK and facing the reality of the economic climate.”

The company says that most customers will end up paying less than at the moment thanks to a 20% discount through the initiative, which will replace existing SIV cards. Members of Fitness Unlimited and Golfit will receive the benefits of the card free of charge.

The scheme is similar to those already operating in most major UK cities, and follows a trial run at Hillsborough Leisure Centre.

It sees SIV trying to balance the demands of its own tightening finances and those of its customers while encouraging more people to get active more often.

Mr Brailey said the card “will enable us to collect more information about our customers and offer a greater range of programmes and activities to suit the whole of Sheffield.

“It will give us information that will help us to develop and to continue to invest in the facilities we provide. This is an exciting opportunity for our customers to make real savings, receive great offers and make a major contribution to the improvement of our products and services.”

Although not compulsory, the card will be introduced on December 5, and SIV expects most of its regular customers to use it.

Activities where customers will pay less with a lifeCARD will include junior peak and off-peak lane swimming, adult off-peak lane swimming, junior peak and off-peak leisure swimming, off-peak outdoor pitch hire and Friday night ice skating. Offers will be refreshed monthly.

The four SIV golf courses and Westfield Sports Centre will join the scheme at a later date.

lSports centre cash row, page 12.