We have been asked to share the notes from a meeting held on 3 July regarding Live Active Leisure’s withdrawal from managing the sports facilities at The Community School of Auchterarder.
We would urge everyone to read these to find out more about the possible future access to these facilities.
The notes below are a straight copy and paste from the notes of that meeting.
Meeting to discuss the future for the provision of sport and sport development within The Community School of Auchterarder
Wednesday 3rd July 2019 10am in the Girnal Hall, Aytoun Hall, Auchterarder
Dr Jim Grant Meeting Chair, Chair of Friends of St Margaret’s
Roz Findlay Ladies Badminton
Margaret Tait Ladies Badminton
Jackie McLaren Ladies Badminton
Catriona Anderson Ladies Badminton
Sheila Perera Secretary – Auchterarder Community Sport and Recreation
Denise Jackson Chair Auchterarder Community Sport and Recreation (ACSR)
Kirsteen Ross Community Sport Hubs Officer
Andrew Watson sportscotland Partnership Manager
Liz Smith MSP
Councillor Lyle Perth and Kinross Council Leader
Ailie Callan Lang Toon Kids Club
Chair, Dr Jim Grant, welcomed everyone to the meeting and there were round the table introductions.
Ang Armstrong Auchterarder Angels Netball
Gemma Miles Parents Council at TCSOA
Susie & Stuart Robertson Shuttlecocks Badminton Group
Bill Campbell Trustee & Auchterarder Golf Club
David Lambert Head Teacher at TCSOA
Colin Farndon ACSR Parks Group
& Director of Leisure at Gleneagles Hotel
Sonia Rattray ACSR Community Cycling
Andy Cook Service Manager
Contracts & Facilities Education & Children’s Services
Roseanna Cunningham MSP
Tom Gray Perth & Kinross Councillor
Crawford Reid Perth & Kinross Councillor
David Holmwood Auchterarder Community Council
Ang Laurie ACSR Park Group – Mountain Bike Trail
Laura Hollister ACSR Park Group – Play Park
Gary Watson of Live Active Leisure (LAL) advised that since LAL had withdrawn from operating at The Community School of Auchterarder (TCSOA) from the end of June 2019, the company should not be involved in this meeting.
Update on the Current Position
Denise Jackson Chair & Trustee of Auchterarder Community Sport & Recreation (ACSR – a community sport hub) provided an update as follows:
ACSR trustees and members were extremely disappointed by LAL’s decision to withdraw from operating at The Community School of Auchterarder (Appendix 1). There are no other facilities available locally that are accessible for the rapidly expanding community of Auchterarder. There is substantial frustration about the lack of notice, consultation and community engagement surrounding this decision, combined with dissatisfaction about LAL’s abysmal communication to the community of Auchterarder. All LAL Summer Sports Camps were cancelled at short notice. The official statement from the company advised that “the majority of community access could still be retained but delivered in an alternative way”. PKC will now be managing community access to TCSOA however the offer from PKC is far from acceptable and indeed, prohibitive to community access with no holiday opening and lets only available from Monday to Thursday and as long as they are block booked in advance. No pay and play opportunities are available unlike opportunities that are available in other similar communities in Perth and Kinross. LAL advised prior to the meeting that PKC’s administration of the Council was fully aware and in agreement of LAL’s decision not to operate the facility anymore. (Appendix 2)
Councillor Lyle explained that TCSOA is not a community campus and therefore cannot be operated in the same way as there are limitations relating to the design of the facilities that are not necessarily conducive to community access. This school is a forerunner to the development of the community campuses that were subsequently built.
There was broad agreement that access provided by LAL previously, and currently by PKC, is not community friendly or accessible. It was also noted that there is a long history of discrimination against Auchterarder in favour of Crieff and that this is continuing with LAL’s decision.
It was noted that Lang Toon Kids Club have secured funding, for this summer only, from the Auchterarder Common Good Fund to set up and run a Kids Holiday Activity Camp for this year and this has been achieved at very short notice without any support from LAL.
Andy Cook, from PKC Childrens Services did give assistance to secure access to TCSOA for the Camp. Councillor Lyle advised that some of next year’s allocation of funding from the Auchterarder Common Good Fund has had to be utilised to support this project. The issue of the long-term future of holiday camps for families in Auchterarder is under threat.
ACSR wished clarification on funding provided for TCSOA from sportscotland and the purposes of this funding.
ACTION: Andrew Watson will look into this and report at the next meeting.
It was agreed that ACSR will write to Live Active Leisure’s CEO, Paul Cromwell requesting further information and explanation relating to the decision-making process that led the
company to withdraw from operating at TCSOA along with any impact assessments undertaken and the results of those e.g. Fairer Scotland Duty. Usage data about the TCSOA has already been requested and a limited amount of data was supplied by PKC but not from LAL. This will be requested from LAL again. It was agreed to ask whether or not under usage contributed to LAL’s decision to withdraw. If this is the case, then limited and difficult access arrangements provided by LAL disadvantaged the community and has most certainly contributed to any potential under usage. Perhaps this was part of a deliberate attempt to make access to TCSOA difficult to justify a reason for withdrawal of LAL services. It was agreed that LAL must be challenged on their decision to limit community access and their decision-making process and there is significant concern that the decision was taken arbitrarily and discriminatorily.
The Way Forward and Next Steps
Andy Cook of PKC had advised that he is “more than willing to meet to discuss options to improve/increase the access arrangements at Auchterarder and on behalf of PKC can assure you we are open to these discussions as long as we can come up with a practicable sustainable solution”.
ACTION: Denise Jackson will arrange a meeting with Andy Cook to begin preliminary discussions
Andrew Watson advised the meeting that sportscotland has a 4-year partnership with PKC and in turn LAL and this partnership includes community sport hubs and school sport.
ACTION: Andrew Watson will raise the issue of community access to TCSOA and LAL’s withdrawal from operating at the facility at the next partnership meeting.
Examples exist across Scotland where community groups deliver and manage local leisure facilities. Kirsteen Ross has already commenced looking at models of good practice across other local authorities.
ACTION: Kirsteen Ross and Andrew Watson to link ACSR with other sport hubs that operate facilities to provide knowledge and understanding of different models that exist and how they operate.
Liz Smith MSP understood that PKC can provide has some data that shows/predicts changes in demography over time.
ACTION: Liz Smith MSP will find this information for the next meeting.
It was noted that LAL has a responsibility or a contract to deliver GP referral in the area that may be delivered in partnership with the NHS.
ACTION: ACSR Trustees will investigate the nature of the GP referral arrangements between the Health Centre in Auchterarder and LAL.
It was agreed that ACSR will write to LAL as per minutes above. The letter should list all groups that are part of the community sport hub and should contain reference to the support of member clubs and organisations, national agencies and stakeholders of ACSR. Councillor Lyle and Liz Smith MSP will be copied into the letter to LAL. The letter should be copied to the Chief Executive of PKC. It was agreed that the letter should advise LAL that legal advice may be sought regarding the legality of their withdrawal from operating at TCSOA.
ACTION: Denise Jackson will write to LAL on behalf of ACSR.
Following this letter being sent, Liz Smith MSP will write a supporting letter.
ACTION: Liz Smith MSP to write supporting letter
Kirsteen Ross briefly summarised the meeting from her notes.
ACTION: Kirsteen Ross to collaborate with Sheila Perera (ACSR Secretary) to prepare and distribute minutes from the meeting.
Meeting Closed 11am – Date of Next Meeting –
13th August at 10am in the Girnal Room, Aytoun Hall, Auchterarder.
APPENDIX 1 – Statement from LAL
As of Friday 28 June 2019, Live Active Leisure will withdraw from the management of community use bookings at this venue.
Many public services are facing reductions in funding and increased operational running costs. Live Active Leisure are no different and difficult decisions had to be considered as part of this year’s budget process.
This decision was taken on the basis that the majority of community access could still be retained but delivered in an alternative way.
Community access to the sports facilities will be managed by Perth and Kinross Council in a similar way that it is in other High Schools within the authority. Access will continue to be for block bookings only and it does mean that access will be during term time only. Regular bookings will receive written confirmation of this change.
For bookings beyond 28th June, customers should contact Perth and Kinross Council via e-mail on email@example.com
Alternative Sports facilities are available at Strathearn Community Campus
APPENDIX 2 – Statement from PKC
As background the Synthetic pitch at CSOA has been managed by Live Active Leisure (LAL) until the end of June 2019. LAL has now withdrawn its service to manage community access to school sport facilities at CSOA and to deliver Summer Sport Camps at CSOA. This was a budget saving approved by the LAL Board and approved by Council Leaders after the Council budget was set in February 2019. Since then PKC has been trying to maintain as much of the access as possible within available resources. We understand that most of the concerns raised about the withdrawal of Summer Camps relate to the impact on childcare arrangements made by parents during the holiday period, rather than access to sports activities per se.
Currently the commissioned FM Service operate a reduced staffing model over the summer period (due to staff taking their leave out with term time) this means we do not currently open the Synthetic pitches at any of our schools (apart from those on Community Campuses) during the summer holidays and this includes CSA.
The decision to with draw the LAL Services at the Community School of Auchterarder was taken by the Live Active Leisure Board after careful consideration of how to set a balanced budget for 2019/20. Live Active Leisure operates a large number of venues and programmes across Perth and Kinross and its running costs have increased in recent years
alongside continuing constraints on public finances. Unfortunately one of the savings which Live Active Leisure has had to make this year was the withdrawal from the sport facilities at Community School of Auchterarder on 30 June and this has meant that the summer holiday access cannot be facilitated this year. This was not an easy decision but overall, Live Active Leisure has tried to minimise impact on customers and front line delivery across Perth and Kinross as a whole.
The pitches at the Community School of Auchterarder are not owned by Live Active Leisure they are owned by Perth and Kinross Council and are now managed by Education and Children’s Services. Education and Children’s Services do not offer uncontrolled access to any of its Synthetic Pitches due to the related noise and antisocial behaviour issues this causes.
The Synthetic Pitch at the Community School of Auchterarder is still available for community use out with school hours during term time Monday to Thursday 6pm to 10pm, through the normal School Lets process and can be booked through the normal school Lets booking system or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Officers within the Council are also working with the community to identify possible ways to increase the access opportunities available.