Moray-wide sports scheme boosts family budgets
SPORT and leisure enthusiasts will soon be able to use all council-run sport and leisure facilities in Moray at a discounted price.
Moray Council are introducing membership scheme ‘Fit Life?’ in the New Year, following their Review of Sport and Leisure and Recreation Provision in the area, to encourage greater use and generate increased income.
“The membership scheme will allow access to all council-owned swimming pools, community centres and fitness rooms,” said a council spokesperson.
“It will also include junior and adult swimming lessons, exercise classes and all term-time and holiday programmes for children.
“It is hoped to sell 3500 memberships which would generate an annual income of £1million.”
Family membership will cost £27 a month payable by direct debit or a one-off annual payment of £324 while individual membership will cost £19 a month by direct debit or a one-off £228.
People who are registered disabled will continue to have free access to facilities, along with a carer.
“The scheme is an effort to encourage more Moray citizens to use the fantastic sports and recreation facilities we have available to us,” said local councillor, George Alexander.
“These facilities have always been heavily subsidised but there comes a time when the cost to the taxpayer outweighs the need for the facility.”
Local councillor, Aaron McLean, was a member of the sport and leisure review steering group.
“The review finished at the end of the summer,” he explained.
“Since then, a number of measures have been introduced including changing venue opening hours to increase usage, cameras at Forres Swimming Pool to increase safety and a proposal for 3G pitches at Forres and Lossiemouth.”
He added: “The membership scheme will prevent cuts and closures of sport and leisure facilities.
“The scheme should increase participation in sports, encouraging folk to keep healthy - unlimited use anywhere in Moray has a number of advantages!”
However, fellow councillor Lorna Creswell, pointed out the scheme was not mentioned during the review.
“There was no evidence for a Moray-wide scheme in the consultation process,” she said.
“However, apparently it is popular in Highland so it will be a case of using facilities more or we may lose them ... it’s very serious!”
Cllr Creswell also called for a bigger budget for promotion of council-run facilities and claimed that many will be disappointed the scheme will supersede all existing membership schemes and saver cards currently in operation.
“During the consultation it was mentioned by a local facility manager that there was no budget for promotion and publicity has to go via other management tiers.
“Compare that to Moray Leisure Centre promotion which is in colour every week!
“We need to allocate more of a promotion budget so I am pleased to hear council officers say there is money set aside for promotion of the new membership scheme.”