Sport and culture on the agenda

The new alll-weather pitch at Balmoor.
The new alll-weather pitch at Balmoor.

Councillors will this week be asked to comment on initial work undertaken by Aberdeenshire Council to consider how sport and cultural services in the area will be delivered in the future.

Following agreement from the council’s rducation, learning and leisure vommittee in March, officers and external consultants have been considering different ways of delivering those services.

Alternative models include the creation of a charitable trust, which would deliver sport and cultural services on behalf of the council, as well as the potential of an enhanced status quo option, through which those services would continue to be directly delivered by the council.

This week’s report asks for committee members’ comments before the work carried out so far is considered by all councillors at a meeting of full council next month.

The committee will also be asked to agree that Community Learning and Development (CLD) services provided by the council are removed from the scope of any further work on this project.

Aberdeenshire Council’s director of education & children’s services, Maria Walker, said: The council has a very good record of investment in sport and cultural services in Aberdeenshire and we are always considering how best to ensure they are high quality and available to everyone.

“This year alone there have been significant improvements through major capital spending on new sports centres, swimming pools, libraries and community facilities.

“However, the financial challenges facing the council cannot be underestimated. We must look at how we can continue to place the health and wellbeing of residents on the highest priority through efficient services that represent value for money.

“This is not about reducing what we offer, it is about making sure we can sustain sport and cultural facilities for years to come in ways that continue to provide high-quality services for the people who use them.”

Head of Lifelong Learning and Leisure, John Harding, said: “Initial work has highlighted the significant differences between the way our sport and culture services are run, and the way we provide Community Learning and Development in Aberdeenshire.

colleges.

“Officers are therefore recommending that CLD remain under the direct management of Aberdeenshire Council, so we can continue to support learning for people of all ages.” he added.