The Impact of School Lettings: Harborne Academy
As a school lettings provider, we could speak endlessly about the benefits and positive impact of school lettings. But instead of hearing it from us, why not hear it directly from someone who has experienced our services first-hand?
We recently sat down and chatted with Debbie Smyth, School Business Manager from Harborne Academy Birmingham, on her school lettings experience.
Read all about Debbie’s experiences with school lettings, below:
What has been the biggest change since using Vivify for your school lettings?
“The single biggest change we’ve seen for our school is that it is no longer sitting idle at weekends and evenings. It’s being used for the community, by the students, and by the staff as well.”
What was running lettings like before working with Vivify?
“When I started here, we had started a lettings programme with a different company, and it wasn’t going brilliantly and there wasn’t much income coming in. Every day was a problem. Every morning was a problem. The classrooms were never set up properly again, the teachers would leave it in a certain way, and they’d come in and nothing was back where it should be.
My view of lettings is that it’s a bit like the Borrowers – they come in, they do the service, they go, and when the staff comes in in the morning, they shouldn’t even know anyone has been in the building.”
How was your experience different after making the move across to Vivify?
“Once we handed the bookings over to Vivify, it was such a relief for me. I felt more supported. There was regular contact, but certainly, at the beginning, it was obviously daily contact about how things were going. We had regular meetings. A lot of training went on ensuring that we got everything set up ready for 1st September last year  when we started reopening the doors to the facilities. But it was much, much better.
“I find with Vivify there’s always a system in place, always a backup. They have a contact centre that’s working while the lets are going on, which is another added benefit. There’s always someone on hand to deal with anything that should happen.”
What would you say are the benefits of working with Vivify?
“There are two sides of it really, there’s been a benefit to the Academy because the community comes in, and they see how it’s run. Even for primary school children because they come into the clubs and then they want to come here when they go into secondary school. So that helps the Academy with its intake every September, as well.
“On top of that we used to have to chase for our income from other companies when we did facility lettings, and we don’t have to do that now. Every month automatically I get an email, telling me exactly how much is coming in and it’s in the bank within a few weeks.”
What do you do with the funds generated by Vivify?
“Some of it goes into our capital so it goes in for future years for when we need to refurbish a classroom, refurbish a sports hall, re-lay a new floor. And it also goes into the teaching and learning for the students as well, which means we can get additional teaching in to support children out-of-hours and we’ll do workshops with them because we’ve got this additional income that we can generate and give back to the children.”
What would you say to other School Business Managers?
“Look at what they are offering you. A lot of companies when I did some research would offer you the marketing side, but that’s it, and so they’re taking all the income for marketing and then the school is still doing all the hard work, basically.
Making sure the bookings are ready for that evening, making sure there are staff to cover the hours that are needed. All of that gets taken away when you use a company that offers both sides of it for you.
Considering outsourcing lettings?
Here at Vivify, we understand the time pressures and financial challenges, schools are facing across the UK. A robust lettings programme can help tackle some of these issues while enhancing your school’s reputation.
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