As a regular user and family membership holder of The Pavilions In The Park and Broadbridge Heath leisure centres I was surprised and very disappointed to discover the poor selection of junior activities on offer, especially those that form part of the membership package.
As an active member, I understand how important it is for my children to not only make the most of the membership (especially as the annual fee is not unsubstantial) but also to be fit and healthy. With two energetic children to entertain, I am always looking for new activities to interest them.
With childhood obesity an increasingly important issue in our society, I would imagine that junior activities would be a high priority – not with our local leisure centres it would seem.
So, for a nine year old girl and a five year old boy we are offered swimming and soft play, oh and the aqua disco (eight-plus years) for my daughter, but I think this might be a secret known to only a few as it is not heavily advertised, more passed by furtive word of mouth.
Granted, teenagers are better catered for and there is a Street Dance class for boys only (age six to 13 years). Why not run a class for girls in the same age range?
Anyone who has spent any time in the leisure centres can see that not all the rooms are used continuously during the periods of time after school or at weekends, so I do not think that space can be an issue.
I was also dissatisfied to learn that family membership did not qualify members for discount or preferential selection in respect of other classes held at the centres, such as swimming or trampolining lessons.
I am aware of other non-council owned centres that offer these options to their family members.
The schedule of classes for adults is good and the regular open days are excellent at promoting awareness if you are a regular visitor to the centre in question but external publicity seems very limited.
Why not offer the same to juniors? Send flyers to the primary schools and advertise in the local press etc?
It would certainly encourage more family memberships and more pay-as-you-go participants at attend the activities. The Pavilions in particular has an enviable location, even if the parking prices are extortionate for short visits.
I would be grateful for the comments of my fellow residents.
JEN EDWARDS-COX (Mrs)
Chesworth Crescent, Horsham
A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: ‘‘Horsham District Council recognises the importance of encouraging young people to take part in leisure activities and is working actively with DC Leisure, which manages the leisure centres, to expand the range of junior activities on offer.’’