Green Business Network
Shenley Leisure Centre is a social enterprise, offering leisure centre services to members of the public. It also incorporates a bar and entertainment area. Until recently, the Centre has shared utility supplies with a large secondary school to which it is attached.
The Centre receives a grant from Milton Keynes Council and, as a condition of this, is participating in the QUEST accreditation scheme for Leisure Centres. Environmental management and resource efficiency plays a significant part in this scheme. While the Centre had already put some measures in place, Mark Taylor the Centre approached GBN to provide advice and awareness training for staff.
After attending several Green business Network seminars, Centre Manager Mark Taylor asked the Network to provide an on-site environmental awareness course for 15 employees. GBN purpose-designed a course that explained why environmental issues are important, and how the employees can make a difference by changing their behaviour at home and at work.
“Several of the staff weren’t particularly enthusiastic about the training to start with, but actually the tutor had a bit of a laugh with them, made the subject matter relevant to them and at the end of the course their attitudes had changed.”
In fact, the training has made a significant difference – staff have now taken recycling initiatives to heart and waste going to landfill is starting to reduce significantly. They are also starting to come forward with suggestions as to how the Centre can improve its environmental performance generally.
All plastic, paper, card, toner cartridges and cans are sent for recycling; old uniforms are sent to charities, older equipment – such as mats - are donated to schools and other organisations for reuse, furniture and equipment made redundant through refurbishment projects are sold or advertised on materials exchanges, and large electrical equipment – such as treadmills – are taken back by the manufacturers and refurbished or broken down for parts. Computers are now all networked to print on the photocopier and defaults are set to double-sided black and white printing.
Also as a result of the course, The Centre is now looking at finding recycling or reuse sources for items that are replaced infrequently but that constitute a significant amount of landfill waste – in particular Astroturf and its rubber backing material.
Utility bills and energy use have been identified as one of Shenley’s major environmental impacts, and are also becoming more expensive. Until recently, metering for gas and electricity has been shared with the school premises but this has now been separated enabling the Centre to only pay for what it uses. Amongst measures that the Centre is now looking at are:
Mark is keen to get more initiatives off the ground, not just because he is keen to reduce the Centre’s environmental impacts, but also, as he says, “many of these initiatives will save us money in the long-run.”