Annual report reflects success and challenges of COVID

Our chief executive has welcomed our latest annual report, thanking local people for continuing to support us during the challenges of the COVID lockdown.

Figures released by the trust – launched in 2008 to operate and manage Fife Council’s 14 facilities across the region – for April 2019 to March 2020, show that there were over 2.5 million attendances to our centres, up 0.62 per cent on the previous year. The figures show that we are delivering on our commitment to get more people more active more of the time.

Stand-out areas include increase attendances at outdoor facilities by 4.31 per cent, recording the highest attendances in our 12 years, largely as a result of the use of synthetic turf pitches, and, attendances by over 60s up by 4.09 per cent, the ninth consecutive year that older adults are getting active in increasing numbers.


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A health and physical activity programme, funded through investment by theus, continued our commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of communities across Fife. Active Options 2, a referral-based programme for people living with long-term health conditions, saw 99 weekly classes delivered with attendances in excess of 40,000.

There was also a £22,500 support from Fife Health and Social Care Partnership which allowed us to support those living with dementia to access physical activity.  

Customers continued to benefit from our expanded online booking system with applications to our affordable membership scheme, Leisure Active, up by 12 per cent and an increase in attendances with 775,000 visits by members, up 2.9 per cent from the previous year. 

Despite a challenging year from increased competition from the private sector and extensive refurbishment programmes, and the impact of the COVID lockdown in March, Carnegie Leisure Centre, Dalgety Bay Leisure Centre and Levenmouth Swimming and Sports Centre recorded increases in attendances.

The figures are being released as we have delivered our phased re-opening programme with 13 of our sites now open with health and safety and social distancing protocols in place. Customer feedback shows a positive reaction from customers following the re-opening of centres, with customer surveys showing that 98 per cent of those who have visited facilities satisfied that on arrival there are adequate social distancing and health and safety measures in place, 97 per cent are happy with the protocols for their chosen activity and 97 per cent report that staff are helpful and well-informed about the new Covid measures. 

Emma Walker, chief executive for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, said: “The annual report reflects largely positive performance, with some fantastic examples of the importance of community leisure in being able to deliver a difference to local communities of all ages and abilities. However, the end of the reported period was affected by the lockdown and closure of all our facilities and this impact will be seen even more significantly in next year’s report.

 “As a local charitable trust, we are very aware that people who choose to use our facilities are investing in an organisation which has the wellbeing of local communities at its core – by continuing to perform well, we are able to invest surpluses back into facilities and programmes for everyone’s benefit. I’d like to thank customers for their continued support.

“I’d also like to thank all staff for their tremendous efforts to deliver such great results and for their hard work and commitment to get our sites reopen so that communities can enjoy health and wellbeing benefits of physical activity which are even more important at a time of national public health crisis.”