Fife Council bails out leisure centres as trust faces pandemic financial hit

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Fife Council is to underwrite the cost of running leisure centres and sports halls while the trust in charge of them recovers from the financial impact of the pandemic.

The financial help comes as huge numbers of people flock to the venues run by Fife Sports & Leisure Trust.

Since the doors re-opened, over 49, 500 attendances have been recorded by locals using the trust’s online booking system to secure visits.

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Over 6,000 youngsters are set to resume swimming lessons with the trust’s Learn to Swim programme with group fitness sessions starting from Monday.

Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre, GlenrothesMichael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre, Glenrothes
Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre, Glenrothes

This week, Emma Walker trust chief executive, met with Councillor Judy Hamilton, convener of community and housing services sub-committee.

It came as the local authority committed to underwrite the organisation’s operating risk for the year ahead while the trust works to recover from the significant impact of two national lockdowns and the associated loss of income.

Ms Walker said: “Inevitably, the loss of income due to the lockdowns has had a huge impact on the trust, and, as a charitable trust with commitments to the health and wellbeing of local communities, it is vital we secure the long-term sustainability of the organisation.

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Emma Walker, chief executive of Fife Sports & Leisure TrustEmma Walker, chief executive of Fife Sports & Leisure Trust
Emma Walker, chief executive of Fife Sports & Leisure Trust

“The move by Fife Council to offer additional funding to support the trust through these challenging times is crucial and very welcome.

She added: “I’d encourage people who value their community leisure facilities to visit one of the trust’s COVID-secure sites and make use of the fantastic services on offer.”

Cllr Hamilton said:

Convener of Fife Council's Community and Housing Services sub-committee Cllr Judy Hamilton commented: "It is really exciting to see leisure and fitness begin to open again. I was delighted to visit Michael Woods Sports Centre with Emma, and it was such a joy to see families with young children being able to enjoy splashing about again.

"Thank you to the trust for its keen attention to detail, opening our facilities in a safe way, and welcoming Fifers, delivering on our priorities for health and wellbeing.

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"We look forward to the further relaxation of restrictions next week and hope to be able to welcome groups and see people enjoying classes and groups together."

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