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A day in the life of...

Simon Grady is Participation Manager at Leisure World Colchester. 

The Participation Manager job is a very wide-ranging role! Its purpose is to encourage as many people in the Borough as possible to lead healthy active lifestyles. This can involve playing a role in the management of Leisure World as well as working with partners to make sure there are as many opportunities as possible for people to participate in all kinds of sports at different levels - from children's holiday activities to elite Olympic-level swimming. Current projects include looking into the potential development of Broad Lane Sports Ground in Wivenhoe, overseeing all the exciting refurbishment work at Leisure World Colchester and contributing to the development of sports in North Colchester.

I also have an operational role at all four Leisure World sites, covering Highwoods, Tiptree and the Tennis Centre, and of course, Leisure World Colchester, our flagship centre.  Leisure World is the Council's biggest income generator, and there is a lot of work to do to make sure that financial targets are met, particularly in this current climate.

In total we have more than 300 staff, so inevitably a typical day could include staffing issues, ensuring staff are trained and motivated. We have a large number of customers with over a million visits to our centres a year. We are open on average from 6am to 11pm and we only close for three days a year. This presents huge challenges, from wear and tear on the facilities to health and safety, cleaning, programming and customer feedback. 

We are constantly striving to improve delivery of the services, whether it be introducing new fitness classes or a rolling refurbishment programme to meet customers' needs. So an average day also involves working on a diverse mix of strategic and operational projects - and there's always the chance of the unexpected when my role includes dealing with so many people, both staff and customers.

It's a challenging job, but I find it an immensely rewarding role. It's fantastic to have the opportunity to have what I hope will be a positive impact on sport and people's health in the Borough.  Leisure World itself is a brilliant local resource as I'm reminded every time I see the pool or a full aerobics class.