Leading the region’s front line in the battle for a bright sporting future

Border Sport Leisure Trust team.
Border Sport Leisure Trust team.

EARLIER this year, sport in the Borders underwent one of its most radical changes ever with the handover of development bodies and facilities under the control of Scottish Borders Council to one major ‘super trust’.

Swimming pools, sports and leisure facilities and jobs were all in the firing line, with SBC saying it could not continue to operate under the current structure. And, following much public outcry and protest, the decision was taken to allow Border Sport and Leisure Trust to take over the running of both the sports development departments and all SBC leisure facilities.

Eight months on TheSouthern caught up with the new team at the base at Dunsdale Road in Selkirk to find out how things have been going.

Ewan Jackson, BSLT chief executive, told us: “We’ve been working through this transitional period in order that we can all work together to make the most of the facilities we have here in the Borders.

“All the work that we have done so far is to ensure that we continue to provide a high level of service at all levels and that BSLT, the sports development team and the active schools coordinators are all moving forward together.”

The group certainly give the appearance of a united front and there was definitely a positive feel to the gathering as triumphs such as the opening of Tri Fitness, the success of Alex Jordan’s swimming teams and the progress of the Netherdale 3G pitch were talked about.

Mr Jackson added: “We are continuing to work hard on sports development to ensure that coaching can reach a higher level and also maintain and improve on facilities, so that our athletes have the best chance possible to reach the highest levels possible. We will be working on these kinds of strategies over the next few years.”

Mr Jackson is also keen to continue the groups involvement with the wider public.

“Ours was an integration of services so that we can provide a more comprehensive role in sport and leisure in the Borders,” he added.

“There is a real community base here which has been in evidence during the various meetings and conferences we have been involved in during the run-up to the changeover and we hope to continue that in the future.

“There have been challenges and it has not been completely straightforward, but we are just about there now and everyone is still smiling. There is a lot of positivity among the team and everyone is looking forward to a bright future.”