Thursday, 31 May 2012

Survey Surprise

The results everybody had been anticipating were finally released last week as York discovered the results of a pilot survey – the National Benchmarking Service for Higher Education Sport Centres. As York Vision reported on Tuesday, the news was resoundingly positive as average satisfaction levels with the university’s sports facilities were 4.13 out of 5. This is an impressive score considering the fact the York Sport Village, which will undoubtedly boost the profile of sport at York in every respect, is yet to open. As I outlined in my post back in March overviewing the survey, the results will be highly useful to those managing university sport around the country. We now know exactly who uses the facilities, what they deem to be important and, most significantly, how highly they rate certain aspects of our sport centre.
York's sport facilities are of excellent standard

Let’s start with looking at who uses York’s facilities. Well, around 60% are male and second years comprise a third of users; the highest proportion out of any year group. 34% used fitness equipment on their visit, which is encouraging considering how much better the gym opportunities will be in the new Sports Village. And as expected, the majority accessed the sports centre straight from home, often by walking, thanks to its central location. It will be interesting to see how much this will change next year as the Sports Village is located in Heslington East, away from the main campus.
 In terms of satisfaction levels, York's performance across each category was highly consistent. There was an incredibly high rate of satisfaction with the availability of activities at convenient times and the ease of booking, which shows how well run the facilities are. In addition, there was glowing praise for the helpfulness of staff, the quality of coaching instruction and the cleanliness of changing rooms and activity space. All of these were highly placed in terms of importance. Overall, when asked how likely one would recommend the facilities to a friend, most people (22.7%) gave a solid 8/10.

Although satisfaction levels were never below 60% for any category, there are certainly areas to work on. The main one is membership value for money, but this should be immediately rectified with the new Sports Village (see fitness suite tour above). Significantly, a whopping 70% of respondents said this was “very important” for any sports facility, but only 66.5% were ultimately satisfied. But with York Sport Village membership being just £29 for students, including pool & spa and fitness suite & classes, York will surely improve. Also, with most members currently visiting the current sports centre just once a week, the average may well increase to two or three by next year given the attractions of these new offers.

In short, the survey could not have come at a better time for York Sport. The results show exactly where York’s strengths and weaknesses lie with the current sports centre, which enables effective planning ahead for the new Sports Village. Then, in a year’s time, we will hopefully see the benefits of the £10 million investment.

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