'Serious impact' on finances as Fife's leisure centres remain closed

The swimming pool at Kirkcaldy Leisure CentreThe swimming pool at Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre
The swimming pool at Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre
Frustration as re-opening delayed until September

Sport and leisure bosses in Fife have warned of a serious impact of finances as centres remain closed for another month.

Hopes of a return to business were dashed when the Scottish Government said no such move could happen until September 14.

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Now, Fife Sports & Leisure Trust has spelled out the impact of the loss of six months of income from its network of gyms, sports centres and swimming pools.

Emma Walker, chief executiveEmma Walker, chief executive
Emma Walker, chief executive

The charitable trust - Fife’s leading provider of sports and leisure services - also stepped up its support for the national #saveleisure campaign in light of the Scottish Government’s announcement which will see doors stay closed at its facilities.

It said it had been left frustrated by the latest timescales to let people back into buildings.

The trust has outlined a phased return, beginning with its flagship venues - Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre in Glenrothes, Carnegie Leisure Centre, in Dunfermline, and Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre.

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They will be followed by East Sands Leisure Centre, Levenmouth Swimming Pool and Sports Centre, Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre and Dalgety Bay Leisure Centre.

The final phase would see Duloch Leisure Centre, Pitreavie Athletics Centre, Cupar Leisure Centre, Bowhill Swimming Pool, Lumphinnans Sports Hub and Waterstone Crook Leisure Centre welcoming customers, followed by the Beacon Leisure Centre in Burntisland.

Emma Walker, chief executive, urged customers to join the national campaign to save the UK’s centres.

It estimates that 48 per cent of all public leisure facilities face closure, and 1300 could disappear by the end of the year, along with more than 58,000 jobs.

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And up to 35 per cent of venues will not be able to reopen due to the exceptional increased costs.

She said: ““The provision of community leisure facilities has never been so important than in the face of a national public health emergency and to help support the fight against obesity which has been identified as a key risk factor in Covid-19.

“We offer affordable, accessible public leisure facilities which provide physical activity opportunities to local communities.

“Unlike private providers, we are committed to delivering programmes and facilities for all ages and abilities as well as providing concessions to those on low incomes.

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“Crucially, we provide programmes for older adults, those living with long-term health conditions and individuals struggling with their mental health.”

She paid tribute to staff who have been working behind the scenes to get the buildings ready to re-open under new regulations on health and safety.

She added: “We are keen to welcome our customers back so that they can enjoy the health and well being benefits of physical activity within a safe environment.”

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