Sports trust aims for 30% hike in participation

The organisation which runs sports facilities across the region has set its sights on increasing public participation by 30% over the next four years.

“Last year, we had just under one million visits and our target is for this to hit 1.3million by 2019,” revealed Ewan Jackson, chief executive of the Borders Sport and Leisure Trust (BSLT).

In an upbeat presentation to Scottish Borders Council last week, Mr Jackson reported the number of children and adults taking part in sports, play and other physical activities provided by the trust had risen by 20% since 2011.

He said that, over the same period, another 10 sports clubs had joined the BSLT family.

However, he reported a 2% fall in the number of people involved in “aquatic activities” and said pool opening hours and charges would continue to be reviewed. Mr Jackson said there had also been a slight drop in overall BSLT membership which currently stood at 8,042, including 660 people living outwith the region.

The highest number of members – 1,596 or 20% – reside in Galashiels & District, followed by Leaderdale & Melrose with 885 (11%). The lowest membership levels are in Mid Berwickshire with 217 (2.7%) and in Jedburgh & District, where the swimming pool is run by a separate trust, with 255 (3.2%).

Having made a deficit of £152,000 in 2013/14, Mr Jackson said the trust had achieved a surplus of £32,000 in 2014/15 with income totalling £5.6million.

Councillors were also given an update on progress towards the BSLT taking over SBC’s cultural services.

Councillor Vicky Davidson, SBC’s executive member for culture, sport, youth and communities, said: “SBC and BSLT have been making good progress in working to establish if an integrated culture and sport trust is feasible.”