People Matters

Senior Managers' Update

Putting People First is at the heart of what we aspire to do at Places Leisure, whether that’s you (our colleagues) or our customers and clients. We aim to create engaging workplaces and embed our SPIRIT values across our leisure facilities. We want you to feel valued and know that we are all here to support you and help you achieve your career ambitions with us. We continue to aspire to be an employer of choice and ‘a workplace like no other’.

We would like to take this opportunity to give a warm welcome to our new colleagues who have joined Places Leisure and congratulate our colleagues who have been promoted to new positions since June.

Please see below recent People related developments and updates:

Employee Wellbeing

A healthy workplace is one where employees and managers work together to protect and promote their health, safety and wellbeing. Stress, anxiety and depression is the biggest cause of sickness absence in our society and mental ill health costs UK employers an estimated £33-42 billion per year. Simple steps to improve the management of mental health in the workplace, including prevention and early identification of problems, should enable employers to save 30% or more of these costs (Centre for Mental Health).

We understand how important your wellbeing is and we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you about the colleague wellbeing initiatives we already have in place and to let you know about the initiatives we’re planning to implement soon. Current initiatives:

  • You are entitled to a free leisure centre membership at any Places Leisure operated facility. After 12 months of continuous service, your partner and up to three children up to the age of 18 are also eligible for a free membership. If you don’t already take advantage of this, we encourage you to do so.
  • There is an opportunity for you to join the Cycle-to-Work Scheme.
  • Mental health awareness e-learning is available on My Learning Place, aimed at developing your understanding and awareness of mental health and what you can do to make a positive difference to yourself and others.
  • We offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which is a free and completely confidential service offering you support and advice 24/7. You can call 0800 015 5630, free of charge from a landline or mobile at any time, day or night, to speak to a qualified counsellor.
  • Occupational health provision through our provider Sugarman Health. Occupational Health is a specialist branch of medicine that focuses on the physical and mental wellbeing of employees in the workplace. Sugarman Health provide independent advice and support for employees to maintain a safe, healthy and productive working life. This can be through a variety of methods including telephone and face-to-face consultations and access to other services.
  • Peer support group to support colleagues affected by trauma after serious incidents.
  • In August 2019, we partnered with Able Futures, who offer a wide range of free, first-class mental health support services. Able Futures will listen to you to understand any difficulties you are experiencing and create an individual plan of support. The confidential service can be accessed by calling 0800 321 3137 (8am to 10.30pm, Monday to Friday).
  • Many local wellbeing initiatives to improve colleague wellbeing including:
    • Walking Meetings – A great way for colleagues to stretch their legs and get some fresh air whilst discussing business.
    • Weight Loss Support – At Loughton Leisure Centre, in January 2019 twelve colleagues committed to losing weight over a period of three months with weekly weigh-ins to track progress. Their goal was to lose five stone between them; they then went on a spa day as a reward for achieving their goal!
    • Team Sports – The team at Hinckley Leisure Centre are invited to join their colleagues in the sports hall at 1pm every Wednesday to take part in team sports, including badminton, football, basketball and netball.
    • SWIMTAG Challenges – In Rushmoor, the team have organised SWIMTAG challenges specifically for colleagues to increase their activity levels and to encourage some friendly competition!
    • Mindfulness Training – The team in Elmbridge have worked in partnership with ‘Fitlives’ to deliver a ‘happiness workshop’. This was led by a coach with an MSc in Psychology, Counselling & Coaching. The course was open to Places Leisure colleagues and members.
    • Office Ambience – The team in Mid Sussex have been trying to improve their office environment by changing the layout and adding plants. It is well documented that office plants have been found to have numerous benefits for employees including reducing stress, increasing creativity and improving air quality!

Coming soon: Caring about our mental health should be no different to caring for our physical health. We have lots planned over the next few months to raise awareness of mental health, including:

  • Mental health for managers e-learning
  • Introducing Mental Health First Aiders
  • Developing Mental Health First Aid Instructors.

In the meantime, we want to encourage you to break the silence and “Ask Twice” because sometimes we say we’re fine when we’re not, so if you notice someone acting differently, ask twice. Find out more about the Ask Twice campaign here:

Big Colleague Survey

In early October we took part in Places for People’s first Group-wide colleague engagement survey. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey; we achieved a 30% response rate. Great Place To Work, a specialist in workplace culture, are analysing the survey responses and we hope to communicate the results in January.


In October we completed the roll out of eArcu across Places Leisure. eArcu is a leading applicant tracking system; advertising all roles across online job boards and social media, providing an online portal for applications and ensuring that candidates are fully communicated with. All data can now be reported on, allowing us to understand ROI for advertising, report on equality and diversity data and review the effectiveness of recruitment in different contracts.

We are now working on the next stages of development which includes the automated issuing of starter documentation and full integration with Business World.

Business World HR and Payroll Project

As communicated in September, we have been working hard on transferring Payroll and HR to the Group platform. The go-live date is 1st April 2020.


My Learning Place has been developed significantly and many of you are using this to complete mandatory learning and optional learning to develop your knowledge and skills. Since its launch in 2017, we have issued 48,262 badges and currently offer 35 courses.

There are lots of new e-learning courses on the horizon too! Our Training and Development team have been developing a new e-learning module in partnership with the Activity Alliance which is due to go live on My Learning Place in during the first quarter of 2020. Other e-learning modules we are going to be releasing in the near future include: Poolview; Audit Training; and the Safe Use of Social Media.

If you have any queries regarding the learning and development opportunities available to you, please contact your line manager or the People team:

Employee Benefits

Our Place Rewards was launched in January 2019, providing you with access to exclusive offers from nearly one thousand different retailers! If you haven’t taken a look at Our Place Rewards yet you are missing out. Simply visit and register to get access to discounts, instant vouchers and cashback from your favourite stores, restaurants, cinemas, days out, travel and so much more.

Internal Communications

The Communications and TSS Teams have been working hard to develop an innovative, modern, digital workplace that is accessible to all colleagues. As a part of this, all colleagues will be provided with a company email address that will enable them to utilise the Office 365 products available online through the new modern digital workplace. This is due to launch in early 2020, so keep an eye out for more information!

The Communications Team are always keen to hear of lovely news stories and case studies that can be shared with all colleagues. Please email details and photos to

Star Awards

The 2019 Star Awards Ceremony was held in Edinburgh at the end of September. Congratulations to our Places Leisure colleagues who received four of the Star Awards this year:

  • ‘Bright Spark Award’ - George Davies – Lifeguard / Swim Teacher Assistant at The Activity Zone
  • ‘Going the Extra Mile Award’ - Neil Scrine - Deputy Manager at Deben Leisure Centre
  • ‘Leading Change Award’ - Andy Glover - Head of Customer Experience at Places Leisure
  • ‘RESPECT Award’ - Lucy May, Adam Fawcett, Ethan Hood, Gregory Rogers, Isabelle Syson, James Baker, Abbey Highman, Pearce Munday, Robert Shaw and Stephen Fitt from Gosport Leisure Centre.

If you know a colleague or team who is making a real difference and deserves to be recognised for their excellent work, then it’s time for you to nominate them for a Star Award! Every Star Award nominee gets to choose between store vouchers to the value of £25, half a day of annual leave or a £25 charity donation. Star Award finalists from across the Places for People Group are then invited to the annual glittering ceremony!

Places for People’s Service Awards

We are excited to announce that in January, Service Awards will be introduced to recognise the commitment that our long serving colleagues have made to the company.


#AWorkplaceLikeNoOther #PeopleFirst