Published 08 November 2019

Councillors will vote later this month on proposals that keep all the Council’s Community Centres open and save £187,000 per year.

 A review of the Council’s existing 12 Community Facilities has identified the opportunity to introduce a more efficient operating model that would save £130,000 a year.

 These approaches would include greater use of staff pools so that employees only opened centres when bookings were on; a review of opening hours; giving keys to some regular groups using the halls; and a review of existing charges.

 In addition it is proposed that a further £57,000 could be saved by making the opening hours at the Glenhead Community Centre similar to those of Duntocher Library which is based in the centre. If the opening times were broadly similar then Library staff could assist with opening and closing Glenhead on behalf of the WDLT, and dependent on the exact bookings allow community groups access to the hall during some of the hours.

WDLT would have discussions with user groups to explore alternative arrangements for access to the building outside of these hours such as keyholding responsibilities which would limit the staffing requirements from WDLT.  Support would also be provided to community groups to use alternative venues in the nearby area, if required. Likely beneficiaries would be the Duntocher Village Hall and the charitable Antonine Sports Centre.

The proposals respond to the request by Council in 2018 to review the Community Centres and come forward with suggestions for how to save £130,000 a year. Two public consultations followed and these illustrated there was no public support for individual closures of local centres. Residents also wanted more money invested in the Community Centres to make them more attractive venues to use.

The report to Corporate Services Committee on 13 November responds to this feedback by proposing to keep all Community Centres open, and highlighting that more than £5m will be invested in the Community Centres between now and 2022/23.

Malcolm Bennie, Strategic Lead for Communications, Culture, Communities and Facilities, said: “The report highlights that the existing Community Centres cost the Council £766,000 a year more than they bring in from bookings. This proposal would allow the Council to reduce those costs by £187,000 a year without closing a single centre.

“Moving forward the centres would benefit from £5m of investment, and be staffed in line with bookings and demand.

“This proposal would also operate the Glenhead Community Centre in the most efficient way, to generate a significant saving with minimal disruption to existing users. In addition the new hours would reduce competition between Glenhead Community Centre and the community-run Duntocher Village Hall and charitable Antonine Sports Centre. This could help these popular local facilities to continue to thrive.” 

“The report does contain other options and ultimately it is for Councillors to decide on the best way forward later this month.”