Lakeside started to suffer financially as far back as the late 1990’s due to a lack of capital funds available for investment in the infrastructure of the site and high operational costs. By 2008 the situation had reached such a critical level that the management of the centre was outsourced from its then owners, YMCA England to YMCA Fylde Coast.
In 2011, YMCA Fylde Coast took on full ownership of Lakeside and established the local Sub- Committee made up of people who not only have the relevant knowledge and expertise but also who are living and working in Cumbria and subsequently have a vested interest in ensuring the financial sustainability of the centre. Through a reduction in spending, undertaking only essential repairs and rationalising areas of delivery, and with the guidance of the Sub-Committee members,we have successfully reduced the financial losses.
We have now reached a point where the centre is year on year proving to be sustainable with annual revenue covering our expenditure levels. However, our financial challenges are on-going and the strategies we have put in place to balance the books are a short term fix.
Many of our buildings have now been in continual use since the early 1950s. Whilst our maintenance team works hard to keep standards high, the reality is that the majority need to be replaced. Without a complete transformation of our existing facilities, Lakeside will not be financially secure into the future and would be forced to close, resulting in a significant loss for the local economy and for the many local communities in Cumbria that benefit from coming here.
Lakeside is definitely a place to invest in, so that other young people like me can enjoy activities, learn new things, make new friends and have fun away from our problems. I feel braver now. I try harder and I’m not scared to fail.
Faahd, 17 years old