Fife Council urged to stop cutting funding to sports and leisure trust

The reduction in opening hours will effect some local sports clubs.
The reduction in opening hours will effect some local sports clubs.

Fife Council has been urged to stop reducing the funding it gives to the Fife Sports and Leisure Trust.

The trust announced plans last month to cut the opening hours at Cupar Leisure Centre and East Sands Leisure Centre, citing budget pressures.

The trust receives a management fee from Fife Council, however, this has dropped from £6 million to £2m since 2008.

MSP Willie Rennie has now called on Fife Council to stop reducing the budget.

“A £4 million reduction in the budget for the trust is significant and in real terms is a further greater cut,” he said.

“The trust has done a lot to raise additional revenue but the truth is that the longer the centres are open the more financial support is required from the council.

“Fife Council needs to stop cuts to sports and leisure trusts. Budgets cuts across the board are severely impacting key groups of people including many who start their day with an early morning swim. Public swimming overall is being cut which impacts on the health of the general population.

“There is a danger that the cuts will result in fewer people using the centres which will hit revenue for the trust resulting in greater cuts to hours and so on. Cuts to opening hours undermines efforts to promote participation in sports and incorporating a healthy lifestyle. I would urge Fife Council to reconsider the cuts.”

Andy Maclellan, team manager (Community Projects) at Fife Council, said: “FSLT’s programme of reduction of opening hours is targeted at times which, in the main, are outwith the core peak operating periods. It also protects, as far as possible, the continued delivery of sports and leisure opportunities over a seven day a week delivery model across Fife without the need to close facilities.

“Although the council has made significant capital investment of over £55m over the last 10 years into replacing and enhancing leisure facilities, FSLT have not been immune to budget reductions over a number of years.

“Despite their best efforts to minimise the impact on customers in the face of increasing competition it has not been possible for them to totally avoid changing some of the service delivery.”