Behind the scenes with a…Leisure Centre Manager

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Feb. 2, 2017, 10:42 a.m.

Mohammed Farah, from Cheshunt, is the General Manager for Southgate Leisure Centre.

How long have you been a Leisure Centre Manager?

I started doing a bit of reception and lifeguarding work while I was studying for my Journalism Degree at the University of Arts, London.During that time I picked up a few fitness qualifications as a Personal Trainer and as a Boxercise Instructor and then fell in to the management side of things.I went from being a Team Manager to an Operations Manager and then on to a General Manager all within the space of a couple of years.The catalyst for this swift progression was that Fusion, who took over the centre in 2010, introduced a Leadership + Management Course which was tailor-made to give me all the training and skills I needed to progress within the job role.Just three months in to the course I was offered a General Manager role at Albany Leisure Centre, one of the smaller Fusion Centres in Enfield.In June 2016 I moved to Southgate Leisure Centre.

What are the best bits about your job?

I enjoy dealing with the complaints as they come through and resolving the issues, trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.I like to think that I am quite customer-focused and that we, as a team, tend to fix things as soon as they arise.

What are the worst bits about the job?

From ensuring that risk assessments for the swimming pool are up-to-date to growing our memberships there are a few pressures but you get used to it.As long as you have the right team in place doing what they are supposed to then things tick along fine.

Why would you encourage people to join up to the leisure centre rather than, say, one of the cheaper gyms that are springing up?

We welcome the healthy competition that cheaper gyms bring; they keep us on our toes!We have made major improvements to our customer service as a result; sorting out issues quickly and being proactive rather than simply reactive to problems.

We are great for families too.We offer swimming lessons for kids, a Junior Gym membership, Junior classes (for ages 8 – 15) and a family membership package(2 adults and 2 kids) whereby children get free swimming lessons and a free birthday party once a year.

Do you offer any unconventional classes at Southgate?

We also offer two days catered to Over 50s on Tuesdays and Friday.

With Float Fit we we tether white foam boards on to the water and offer Hit, Yoga and Pilates classes on the boards – the workout helps with balance, introduces an element of fun and offers a good hard workout.

Finally, we have to ask this….

(Laughs again).Yeah, my name badge used to read Mo Farah but I had to get it changed to Mohammed Farah during London 2012.I had to change my Instagram Handle too! I used to get lots of followers, losing them the second I’d post anything and they realised I wasn’t THE Mo Farah!

www.southgateleisurecentre.comSouthgate Leisure Centre Winchmore Hill Road, London, N14 6AD

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