The Academy then recruited a Leisure Facilities Manager to develop links with local clubs and establish a community programme. By developing a successful and sustainable Community Hub model Oasis Academy Wintringham is now at capacity during peak hours.
The Leisure Facilities Manager role has since evolved into a Community Development Manager with a wider remit which includes engaging with the community, representing the Academy on local stakeholder groups and exploring funding opportunities.
- 2 x 4 Badminton court sized sports halls (one of which is the remaining sports hall from the predecessor school which is sited independently and includes a recently installed climbing wall. The new sports hall has a reaction wall).
- Changing Rooms – 3 sets, with lockers
- Indoor Climbing Wall – offering bouldering, top-roped and lead climbing
- Dance/ drama studio – accommodating 26 people
- Fitness Suite – 25 stations
- Main Hall – used for performing arts, gymnastics etc.
- Technology rooms – used for healthy eating courses (the Academy is one of 25 Youth Sport Trust health and wellbeing hubs)
- Classrooms are also hired out for meetings etc.
- An extensive site incorporating the following Outdoor Facilities:
- All Weather Pitch – Full-size hockey Astroturf, floodlit
- MUGA – 4 tennis courts, floodlit
- 12 Grass football pitches
- ‘High Wires’ – including a low and high wire obstacle courses, Jacobs Ladder, Gladiator Challenge, climbing/abseiling wall and balance beams.
Type of community users
Oasis Academy Wintringham is used by a diverse range of clubs as well as individual users. The Academy has developed a formalised partnership agreement with Grimsby Town FC and host their school of excellence. The football club recently funded the levelling of extra land on the site which will be used for pitches exclusively for their use. The club also work in partnership with the academy to work together to move football forward in the community and local area.
Netball and Football leagues run from the site as well as a number of NGB accredited clubs including Badminton, Basketball, Gymnastics and Trampolining.
Oasis Academy Wintringham run a membership scheme for the Fitness Suite as well as a ‘pay as you go’ option, with a range of fitness classes on offer including Zumba and Pilates delivered by freelance Instructors. The Academy regularly consult with their parents to gauge what activities interest them ensuring that sessions are well used by students, staff and the local community.
Community use is managed by the Community Development Manager who reports to the Vice-Principal and manages a team of community staff. The Community Development Manager post is full-time and is integrated into the Academy structure, contributing to assemblies, extra-curricular programmes and teaching. Daytime bookings and enquiries are taken by the Academy administration staff, then during community hours a Community Receptionist is employed (bookings are taken using an electronic system called Gladstone MRM). The Community Receptionists are responsible for dealing with any enquiries/ bookings during community hours and opening and closing the relevant facilities required that evening, there are four reception staff who work on a shift rota. The team also includes a Fitness Instructor who carries out gym inductions and personal training, and a High Wire and Climbing Development Worker. All of these posts are paid through the Oasis Community payroll but are funded through community use income. A security company are on site from 6pm to 6am and they are responsible for closing down the site at the end of the evening. Group Exercise Instructors are employed on a freelance basis.
Making it work
Oasis Academy Wintringham was designed as a Community Hub, for example the school buildings are orientated back to front on the site with the reception accessed from the rear via a pedestrian footpath to residential areas. The Architect made this decision so that the Academy physically faces the local community that it serves. The sports facilities are all located in close proximity to the main entrance, and the community team use the main reception desk during community hours.
The pricing policy includes concessions for under 16s, and reduced rate gym membership for students and staff. If a club works closely with the Academy and offers services back, such as free coaching or delivering an extra-curricular activity, then they will receive a discount on their hire rate. There is a loyalty scheme for ‘pay as you go’ customers, where they receive their 10th visit for free.
The income from community use covers the staff wages, freelance staff and the lease of the fitness equipment. No contribution is made to utilities, but this is balanced by covering the full annual cost for the fitness suite equipment lease. Any profit that is made is re-invested into equipment for shared community and curriculum use.
The Oasis Hub concept aims to transform communities by integrating services and reconnecting people. This is reflected in the proactive approach to community programming that Oasis Academy Wintringham takes and the strong links it nurtures with the local community. The Community Development Manager has a high profile locally, representing the Academy on a number of local networks including Ward Council meetings and Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce. Embedding community links within the Academy has wider benefits for students for example work with the Chamber has included setting up a mentoring programme for students working with local businesses. The Community Hub has not had to be marketed due to the valuable connections that the Academy has developed and the power of ‘word of mouth’.
The Community Development Manager’s role includes exploring funding and partnership opportunities to sustain and grow community activity. The High Wires facility was originally located at a local Young Peoples Centre, but as they did not obtain the correct planning permissions it needed to be relocated. The Community and Development Manager identified an opportunity and worked hard to secure the facility on the Academy site.
Current projects include setting up an outside cafeteria to offer a catering service outdoors during the summer months, and exploring potential for a new build gymnastics centre on the site. The gymnastics club use the sports hall and assembly hall five nights per week and have over 600 people on their waiting list, so a purpose built gymnastics centre would enable them to grow and develop their gymnastics offer.
- When the Leisure Facility Manager first came into post, there was a resistance from some staff who were reluctant for things to be done differently or to try new approaches. With a brand new school, some staff understandably wanted to protect their facilities. Over time, the Community Development Manager has developed a role which mutually benefits the academy and the community. This has involved developing strong relationships in particular with the PE and site staff.
- It is always a challenge to balance the community offer with the events that the Academy want to run, for example Parents Evenings. By making the community groups aware of these events from the start and given plenty of notice regarding a change in the programme this has relieved the issue.
- Oasis Academy Wintringham is now seen by the wider community as a positive place to be
- Clubs are embedded as part of the Academy – contributing to coaching and an extra-curricular timetable
- The Academy have been able to widen their GCSE PE curriculum offer to include Archery and High Wires, this has particularly benefitted students who are lower achievers in traditional sports such as football
- Teachers and Senior Managers now come to the Community Development Manager if they need additional support with a student. For example a student who has a keen interest in BMX had poor attendance, so the community team arranged a trip to a BMX park as a reward for regular attendance. Another student suffering from exam stress was offered free use of the fitness suite during the exam period.
- Your community team need to be embedded within your school/academy so you can work together as one organisation to gain the best outcomes for all parties.
- Employ someone with the right skills and knowledge. The Community Development Manager is from a local leisure background so understands the systems and procedures to put in place, as well as having a local awareness and good club contacts.
- Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and exploit external opportunities – The High Wire project only happened due to the forward thinking and determination of the Community Development Manager.
Community Development Manager
Oasis Academy Wintringham
Please note Oasis Academy Wintringham are offering their community management experience to other schools on a consultancy basis.
|Type: Academy||Gender: Mixed|
|Age Range: 11-16||Age Range: 11-16|
|Location: Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire, serving a community in the top 10% of the most deprived in Britain||Management Model: Managed in-house by a Community Development Manager|
|No. of Community Users: Over 6,500 per year|