Agenda item

Aspire Trust: Annual Report

To consider the annual report of the Aspire Trust.




130.1              The Chair welcomed both the Chief Executive Officer and the Chair of the Aspire Trust. The CEO summarised the report and brought to Members’ attention key aspects including the financial statements and the Trust’s proposed next steps. She particularly noted the successful partnership working with the University of Gloucestershire.


130.2              Councillor Hilton shared his view that it was positive that Aspire was still going forward after ten years and in a solvent manner. He stated that it would be beneficial to know how the books had been balanced whether through staff streamlining, changes in wages or changes in service delivery. He also queried what impact the funding cut from the City Council had.


130.3              The CEO advised that, while Aspire was a charity, it was necessary to continue to be business minded. She outlined that there had been both staff and product changes and that some reserves had been used for investment. Aspire’s Chair informed Members that it was not just a commercial organisation and that participation in activity was one of the Trust’s primary aims.


130.4              Councillor Noakes stated, in response to a query from Councillor Hilton about the maintenance of Council owned sites, that buildings were maintained to a high standard and that, while the City Council did not fund Aspire directly, it did assist in other ways.


130.5              In response to an intervention from Councillor Pullen regarding achieving income targets, the CEO stated that more information would be forthcoming. She pointed to Aspire’s large social media reach of close to a million followers and that local schools had started to book Aspire facilities.


130.6              Councillor Haigh shared her view that it was a significant achievement for Aspire to be successful without the previous financial support and that it was positive to see the partnership with the University. She asked how Aspire’s work would be developed and whether it was a case of doing more activities or maintaining their current position. The Chair of Aspire stated that the aim was to work with partners to improve participation and highlighted their work with Age UK. He also highlighted the need to be reasonably innovative.


130.7              Councillor Haigh stated that it was important to consider financial accessibility for the public. The CEO highlighted that the organisation always wanted concessionary rates and informed Members of their work with asylum seekers in the area.


130.8              Councillor Hawthorne stated that charities needed clear aims and to identify clearly who the charity supports. He queried whether there was a clear outline of Aspire’s charitable aim. He asked what Aspire’s raison d’être was.


130.9              The CEO advised the aim was to get families active in an environment that was positive for families in Gloucester. She added that it was necessary to balance being engaging and a concessionary price range.


130.10            Councillor Morgan congratulated Aspire on its achievements and noted the significant investment in the Lunar City project.  He asked for what period of time Aspire saw it continuing and how the organisation conducted research into its future market.


130.11            The CEO advised that Lunar City had a life-span in the region of three years. She further advised that the investment was also in respect of building modifications. She stated that it was possible that there would be a further installation in another location. In relation to research methods, the CEO advised that Aspire worked with partners and others to examine how the market was shifting such as demographic changes.


130.12            In response to a query from Councillor Lewis regarding whether future development would include going out of the City to manage other places, the CEO responded that without an extremely very high volume, it would not be prudent to do so.


130.13            Councillor Finnegan asked if Macmillan Cancer Support (who made use of Aspire services for rehabilitation) provided any contribution. The CEO advised that Macmillan trained Aspire’s fitness instructors and paid to use space at the premises. She further advised that those who used Aspire’s services tended to be repeat customers.


130.14            Councillor Dee praised Aspire for the good work it continued to deliver. He asked whether the Trust incurred any additional costs for running parallel events. The CEO stated that there were private services which were more expensive for customers to book and that changes had been absorbed into the Trust’s operations.


130.15            RESOLVED that: - The Overview and Scrutiny Committee NOTE the report.

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