A fresh approach to facilities hire
Co-founder and director of School Lettings Solutions, Scott Warrington, is working with independent schools to unlock potential from unused facilities
Working with independent schools such as St George’s School in Ascot, and The Godolphin and Latymer School in London, we see the potential that can be unlocked from unused facilities out-of-hours, making them available to more people to encourage community engagement and leisure activity.
Overcoming staffing issues and taking away the burden of opening the doors to allow local clubs and groups to hire their facilities for sports, leisure and holiday clubs, has multifaceted benefits.
Around 40% of sports facilities in the UK sit behind the school gates; an obvious solution being to open up those gates to the public. We appreciate this isn’t a simple task – schools have to think about the staffing of the facilities, the safeguarding of those using the facilities and the associated costs with opening the building daily to name a few, but that’s where SLS is able to relieve schools of these pressures and deliver effective lettings management.
We know for a lot of schools, while the additional revenue that’s generated through facilities hire is important, the priority is building links with their local community. The schools we work with are passionate not just about pupil attainment, but about aspiration – participation in team sports and other leisure activities encourages that.
With hiring groups including England Netball and Badminton England, we believe the calibre of these organisations and the links with our partner schools makes an attractive proposition for attracting new students and young talent with an interest in a range of activities.
Being active has many benefits as we know, supporting both our both physical and mental wellbeing. It also has the ability to break down barriers in society and bring people together. Whether this is through participation, volunteering or spectating, we believe it is extremely valuable asset for communities to have schools that are able to facilitate groups and encourage participation.
We have access to fantastic spaces and it’s our aim to connect to the communities they are within. One of the ways we’re approaching this is by making booking more accessible. We’ve made a significant investment to develop an innovative online booking system. The new system provides numerous benefits for partner schools and hiring groups, allowing people to search, book and pay online, as well as SLS then managing the lettings onsite. Bookings can be managed easily 24/7 and accessed in real-time, which allows cancellations and amendments.
We are hugely excited as a business about the impact this will have – we are already seeing a positive response from the schools and hiring groups we work with. Since we launched in 2011, we’ve been able to deliver well over £13 million of revenue back into the schools we work with and we feel we’re just getting started.
We understand the pressures faced by educators in today’s climate and the difference a professional approach to lettings can make. Now our offering is underpinned by new technology, we’re looking ahead to rolling out to more schools and connecting with more community groups across the country and welcome the opportunity to engage with more independent schools on their lettings programmes.
Founded in 2012 by Scott Warrington and Paul Andrews, School Lettings Solutions (SLS) provide a full lettings solution for more than 300 schools across the UK to maximise the use of their facilities to local communities during evenings, weekends and school holidays. The fast-growing enterprise now employs over 1,000 people across the UK, as well as welcoming nearly 10,000 community groups into facilities every year.
For more information please visit schoollettings.org