Council considers increasing access to sports facilities

Proposals to increase community access to school sports facilities will be discussed by the City of Edinburgh Council next week.

Free swimming for kids with Edinburgh Leisure

Independent sports consultants Max Associates have completed a year-long review into Council-owned sports facilities and services - the first of its kind carried out by a Scottish local authority.

One of its key recommendations is that Edinburgh Leisure takes over the running of school sports facilities resulting in greater access and participation by Edinburgh residents, improvements in health and well-being and more income being generated.

Max Associates were commissioned by the Council in May 2014 to carry out the review to identify financial savings while still providing essential access to sport for the Capital’s population especially for those most in need.

Other key findings in their report are:

Full community access to schools will be essential to meet the needs of Edinburgh’s rapidly growing population over the next 20 years

Only 8% of Edinburgh’s households have never used Edinburgh Leisure’s facilities or services

10.6% of the 74,000 known users of Edinburgh Leisure live in deprived areas of the city

Projected savings and efficiencies of around £2m could be achieved if the recommendations were adopted

Council Leader Andrew Burns said: “The Council is committed to encouraging greater participation in sports and exercise across all age groups in every part of the city. The recommendation to transfer the school sport estate to Edinburgh Leisure will effectively increase the overall number of facilities available to the public.

“Edinburgh has a rapidly growing population and we need to do everything we can to ensure that sports facilities are available for everyone to use. Increasing the accessibility of our facilities aims to achieve greater participation and therefore improvements in the health and well-being of Edinburgh citizens.”

David Milne, Chair of Edinburgh Leisure said: “Edinburgh Leisure is dedicated to helping make Edinburgh a more active and healthier city to live in by providing a range of opportunities for people of all ages to participate in physical activity. 

“Combining the management of school sports facilities with the Edinburgh Leisure estate is an exciting proposition and the Edinburgh Leisure Board welcomes the opportunity to explore this with the City of Edinburgh Council.”

The report will be discussed by the Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee on Tuesday 29 September.

If the proposals for Edinburgh Leisure to take over the running of school sport facilities are approved then a progress report will come back in six months time detailing how this will be achieved.


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