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HEALTH & FITNESS


Exercise to be used to help manage blood pressure


New figures from Public Health England (PHE) reveal that diseases caused by high blood pressure are estimated to cost the NHS more than £2bn a year, and exercise could prove to be part of the solution. A collaboration between a number of


health agencies in the UK will result in people being urged to get a blood pres- sure check and take preventative measures. According to Professor Huon Gray,


national clinical director for heart disease for NHS England, lifestyle plays a large part in managing blood pressure: “Over half of all strokes and many heart attacks could be prevented by ensuring people take steps to get their blood pressure into the normal range, but unfortunately, high blood pressure oſten goes unrecognised.” Dubbed the silent killer, more than


five million people are not aware that they have high blood pressure. It affects one in four adults and is one of the biggest risk factors for prema- ture death and disability in England and accounts for 12 per cent of visits to GPs. Details: http://lei.sr?a=q6E6U


LA fitness ‘premiumising’ London


LA fitness has outlined plans for growth and potential future investment as the operator confirms it is near the end of its CVA process. Speaking


exclus ively to Lei sure


Opportunities, LA fitness CEO Martin Long confirmed that, of the 33 clubs originally ear- marked for disposal, 18 have since been sold and an additional five landlords have found new tenants, including the site in Chester which is now trading under the Nuffield brand. An agreement was due to be reached on the final nine or 10 clubs by the end of November, with some due to transfer to new owners. Te remaining clubs – of which there were


to be “approaching 50 once everything is tied up by the end of the month” – will be predom- inantly in London and the south-east. Te core group of clubs has performed well, in spite of “significant disruption” to the estate since the CVA was announced in March, with joiners up 10 per cent and revenues up 4 per cent. Capital will begin to be released to the


entire estate towards the end of Q1 2015, with all clubs due to receive investment. In addition, throughout the course of 2015,


a further seven of the 13 central London clubs will be upgraded and rebranded to the LAX by LA fitness brand – the operator’s premium offering. Tese will join the existing three LAX


LA fitness CEO Martin Long is targeting London


clubs – St Botolph’s, South Kensington, and London Wall, which is due to be relaunched as LAX in the first half of December. “We’re ‘premiumising’ our offering in


London,” confirmed Long. “At this stage I don’t plan for any more than 10 LAX clubs in total, all in prime London locations. However, even those clubs that remain under the LA fitness brand will be brought up a level in terms of their offering. “In 2015 most of the investment will be within the M25, but the entire estate will have received a faceliſt by January 2016.” Details: http://lei.sr?a=c3A5R


Serco to sell leisure arm during restructure


Up to 70 UK leisure and sports facilities face an uncertain future af ter operator Serco announced plans to sell its leisure arm. Services giant Serco is


Roger Millward (right) and his son Teo


STA appoints new CEO as Roger Millward steps down


Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) CEO Roger Millward has announced that he will retire next summer, with his son Teo set to take over the reigns. Millward senior announced that he


would be stepping down at the STA’s recent national conference, having spent 20 years at the helm. He will continue to play an active part in STA, working in particular on an international level with IFSTA members. Millward junior joined STA full-time in


2011 and is the current operations director and said it was an “enormous honour” to be appointed CEO of the world’s largest swim- ming teaching and lifesaving organisation. Details: http://lei.sr?a=r2Y3a


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looking to offload several of its ‘non-core’ businesses as part of a strategy overhaul, ahead of a planned £550m rights issue. One of these businesses is Serco Leisure, which manages 70 UK loca- tions including Bisham Abbey and Lilleshall National Sports Centres, the National Water Sports Centre and Manchester Aquatics Centre. Livingstone Partners is understood to be


Bisham Abbey is among the leisure sites operated by Serco


handling the sale of the leisure unit, which has more than 66,000 members across its facili- ties. A Serco Leisure spokesperson told Leisure Opportunities that the process is ongoing and that it “wouldn’t be appropriate” to outline a tim- escale for the completion of the sale at this stage. Serco recently cut its profit forecast for


2014/15, and wrote off £1.5bn from the the value of the business following a review by new group


Read Leisure Opportunities online: www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/digital


CEO Rupert Soames, who is the grandson of Winston Churchill. Te move prompted a nega- tive response from investors and the company’s share price has almost halved in recent weeks. In a statement, Soames said that his review


had encompassed “much turning over of stones” as he bids to bring long-terms sta- bility to the ailing business, adding: “Tere are a tough couple of years ahead as we make this transition, but it will be worth it.” Details: http://lei.sr?a=Q8j4M


Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2014


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