Extended sports facility hours meets with mixed success

Mixed results for extending sports opening at Lossiemouth and Keith
Mixed results for extending sports opening at Lossiemouth and Keith

EXTENDED OPENING HOURS for two council operated fitness and leisure centres have met with mixed success, according a report before Councillors this week.

Additional costs were approved to extend the opening hours at the centres in Lossiemouth and Keith at weekends for a six-month trial period.

The trial runs cost the local authority over £16,000 in staffing costs over and above those charges requiring to be met for heating and lighting of the centres.

In a wider report on sports and leisure facilities by the Council’s Sports Development Officer, Kim Paterson, the trial at the two centres conducted last year showed that for weekend income generated at Keith fell by over £3500 when compared to the previous year.

However, part of that was put down to those using the centre being ‘Fit Life’ members whose monthly payments were not included in the income.

At Lossiemouth, weekend income saw an increase of £747.04 when compared to the previous year, with weekend admissions also showing an increase of 2640 – slightly more than at Keith where admissions increased by 1389.

The report concluded that “…from these results that the trial period appeared to be value for money in Lossiemouth but less so for Keith.”

One of the main findings of the overall review was that the Fit Life scheme introduced by the local authority “..has resulted in significant additional workload for the Sport and Leisure section and the Finance section which needs to be addressed to ensure the scheme remains as effective and efficient as possible.

“To rectify this issue, having an administration person with dedicated hours for the Fit Life Scheme would be the solution.”

Overall, facilities in Moray produced an income increase of £162,000 over the year (when Sports Development and Active Schools is excluded), however the report also notes that the majority of Pay As You Go prices for Sport and Leisure facilities remained below the national average according to research by sportscotland.

Councillors will be asked on Wednesday to approve a further review of Moray’s leisure estate be undertaken – to include the independently run but Council funded Moray Leisure Centre. They are also being asked to approve the establishment of a new two-year fixed-term post to facilitate the leisure review and administer the Fit Life scheme.

Meanwhile the same Council meeting will consider a new management policy for Sports and Leisure facilities, outlining public behaviour rules when using the facilities.