THE company that runs Ryedale’s leisure facilities is developing a plan to increase engagement with sports after a fall in attendance figures over the past year.

Everyone Active has a 10-and-a-half-year contract with Ryedale District Council to run sports centres and swimming pools in the district.

Representatives from the company delivered their annual report to council at a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday.

They said that across their three centres - Derwent Swim and Fitness Centre, Ryedale Swim and Fitness Centre, and Ryedale Sports Centre - they had a total of 212,342 visits during the 2017-2018 financial year, down from last year’s high of 240,071.

As part of the update, Everyone Active area manager Martin Miles and contract manager Kev Murray said that they have, in conjunction with the council, got a new community engagement plan, which “looks at sporting activity and how to make sure we can increase physical activity within the district”.

Mr Miles said: “We’ve got some fabulous facilities, we’ve got the right colleagues with the right training so now it’s about trying to get more people in to use those facilities. That’s the priority this year.”

He added that, despite the “robust” discussions with swimming clubs earlier in the year which generated some negative press, the relationship with the two swimming clubs is very positive.

“We’re trying to rebuild and re-engage ourselves with the community, and to make sure we have a good reputation within both Norton and Pickering” he said.

The representatives added that they are trying to make people more aware of what facilities are available. One example given was the climbing wall at Ryedale Sports Centre.

Mr Murray said: “It’s a fantastic facility but massively under-utilised.”

Cllr Will Oxley said that, conversely, the climbing wall in York has a significant waiting list.

Mr Murray added that the sport development plan was both about working more in partnership with other local leisure providers and also offering entry-level activities for those who may have more sedentary lifestyles to help get them fit.

They also went through statistics in areas including accidents, customer feedback, maintenance, safety and employment.

Mr Miles said that their 12-month apprenticeship programme led to five apprentices employed in the district.

“It’s great for us to get young people into the business at an early age,” he said.