Council considers integrated sport and culture trust

Councillor Vicky Davidson: "Sport and cultural services staff are very used to working together"
Councillor Vicky Davidson: "Sport and cultural services staff are very used to working together"

Scottish Borders Council and Borders Sport and Leisure Trust have agreed to enter into discussions to explore the possibility of creating an integrated sport and culture trust.

Following a board meeting this month, Borders Sport and Leisure Trust (BSLT) has agreed to the council’s approach to have talks on the matter. This follows on from the options appraisal and consultation exercise undertaken by the council in relation to the establishment of a standalone culture trust.

Councillor Vicky Davidson, executive member for culture, sport, youth and communities, said: “While a viable business case for a standalone culture trust remains, it is prudent to take the time to investigate the feasibility of establishing an integrated sport and culture trust. Historically most councils operated a leisure and recreation department, so sport and cultural services staff are very used to working together under a single management team.”

The council and BSLT have agreed to explore if this larger scale proposal could be a feasible option and a report to councillors, to be discussed on Thursday February 19, proposes the terms of reference for this joint working. It is also proposed that a final report will be brought back to the Council by October 2015.

Seven joint culture and sport trusts already exist throughout Scotland and other local authorities are in the process of examining integrated trusts to deliver both sport and cultural services.

The council believes a combined sport and culture trust can be more robust and benefit from the economies of scale of a bigger organisation. The budget of a combined trust in the Borders would be approximately £12million.

BSLT was established in 2003 and now operates 15 sports venues, delivers the sports development service and manages the Active Schools co-ordinators. It has existing charitable status and back-office services for its current operation in place.