Fit Fifers make greater use of sports facilities

Attendances are increasing at Fife's swimming pools and sports centres.
Attendances are increasing at Fife's swimming pools and sports centres.

Fifers are making greater use of sports and leisure facilities – with attendance figures at centres up for a seventh consecutive year.

In 2014-15, the 13 centres run by Fife Sports and Leisure Trust (FSLT) saw a total of 2,609,424 visits, an increase of 8.5 per cent on the previous year.

Figures for Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre were up by an impressive 65 per cent compared to the previous year, attracting 314,052 visits in 2014-15.

That made it the third most popular centre in Fife, behind only the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre in Glenrothes and Carnegie Centre in Dunfermline.

However, the Beacon Leisure Centre in Burntisland saw a slight fall in numbers, down 8.65 per cent to 133,024.

Across Fife, all three of the trust’s key attendance categories were up, with wetside (swimming pools) recording an increase of 3.2 per cent, dryside (sports halls and gymnasiums) 11.5 per cent and outdoor 18.5 per cent.

In addition, all user group categories recorded increases, with the over-60s up by 11 per cent rise and the 18-60 age group up by 10 per cent.

Encouragingly, the under-18s also saw an increase of 5.5 per cent, indicating programmes such as discounted racquet sports and free swimming are having an impact.

And the trust’s Talented Sports Performer Scheme – which allows discounted access for training in sports and leisure facilities – attracted 3451 attendances, its highest number so far.

Ed Watson, FSLT chief executive, said: “The trust has continued to deliver year-on-year increases on overall attendance, as well as deliver programmes and initiatives which target key user groups.

“This is a wonderful achievement and demonstrates our commitment to customer service and improving access for all.

“I am particularly encouraged by our efforts to engage with young people, as well as talented athletes through our Talented Sports Performer scheme. It is essential the trust engages with children and young people to develop a lifelong interest in physical activity.

“This performance underlines our commitment to engage with all ages and abilities to increase participation in physical activity and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

The annual report was recently presented to Fife Council’s education, health and social care scrutiny committee.

Councillor Susan Leslie, who chairs the committee, said: “Fife Sports and Leisure Trust has a vital role in getting, and keeping, the people of Fife physically active.

“The trust’s continued strong performance allows it to invest in important programmes such as those for people with long-term health conditions or outreach work in communities with previously inactive people.

“I congratulate the organisation on another set of encouraging results.”