Borders Sport and Leisure Trust hits the mark with social and environmental aims

SELKIRK, UNITED KINGDOM - 3 June 2011: 'Selkirk Swimming Pool'Users Group & BSLT''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)
SELKIRK, UNITED KINGDOM - 3 June 2011: 'Selkirk Swimming Pool'Users Group & BSLT''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)
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THE manager of most Borders swimming pools and fitness centres has become one of only three leisure trusts in Scotland to gain recognition for its social and environmental aims, writes Sally Gillespie.

Borders Sports and Leisure Trust (BSLT) has been awarded a social enterprise mark from the Scottish Government.

Trust chairman Tony Taylor said: “It’s a great credit to everybody, it’s very good and it demonstrates that the trust is working very closely with a whole range of partners, particularly NHS Borders, but also with, for example, the police in Hawick to get youngsters off the streets and active.”

The main criteria for a business to be deemed a social enterprise is for it to use at least half its profits for socially beneficial purposes and for it to have primarily social objectives.

BSLT marketing manager Keith Campbell said: “The social enterprise mark differentiates us from purely commercial businesses as any profits which are made are used to improve the facilities and services which operate for the benefit of our communities. It also ensures that we demonstrate both social and environmental objectives.

“It recognises that as an organisation we are socially motivated and shows our dedication to facilitating access for all to a healthier and more active lifestyle and it demonstrates to partners that we are committed to help tackle social issues.”

And he cited examples of the trust’s social objectives, including working with NHS Borders to tackle obesity and helping more Borderers be more active more often.

The trust also works with Scottish Borders Council’s (SBC) corporate parenting group to provide access to leisure facilities for children and young people.

Mr Campbell continued: “Focus groups have been set up in all our centres where participants will help influence decision-making in relation to the development and operation of the service we provide.

“Engaging and informing the communities we serve is important to us.”

And he added: “One of our environmental objectives is to continue to reduce energy consumption across all our sites.”

Next month the trust takes over SBC’s Active Schools programme which helps and motivates the region’s children to adopt a healthy active lifestyle.

Some well-known social enterprises include John Lewis, The Eden Project, Divine Chocolate, The Big Issue, the Co-operative Group, Duchy Originals and the London Symphony Orchestra.