Plans to bring a first class wellbeing hub with leisure facilities to Clackmannanshire were discussed at a Special Council meeting today (Monday 31 May).
Officers shared progress on the plans, which were first approved in March when the Council’s Budget 2021/22 was agreed.
Councillors heard that despite continuing to work through a pandemic, the Council is committed to ensuring the wellbeing hub is a top priority for the area.
The Council has already carried out a public consultation exercise focusing on gathering the views of Clackmannanshire residents so that they help shape the type of leisure and wellbeing provision that will benefit everyone in the area.
Ongoing engagement with residents, groups and clubs will continue until the project is complete and will inform every stage of the process.
The first phase of this included an online survey to which over 1200 individuals and groups responded. This was enhanced by specific focus groups to reach others who may not have responded to an online engagement opportunity.
The views of community and private leisure and sports clubs were also gathered and supported by Ctsi. Disability Groups, Children and Young People, Over 60s, were included and consultation with these groups will be ongoing.
Key highlights from the survey indicate that residents want and need a swimming pool, with disability access being a key requirement. The experience of lockdown has been reflected in the responses, with many saying that they are using outdoor leisure opportunities such as cycle paths, open spaces and walkways.
Wellbeing was also a key message – with many taking part in activity to support their mental health and family time.
Younger people wanted multi-sports with gym and fitness also priority. Many of these are already available across the county and the next phase will start to consider how all the opportunities can be maximised and strengthened.
Given the strength of the ambition, the Council will be working closely in partnership with Sport Scotland who have extensive expertise in facilities management both nationally and internationally. They will also bring their experience of working with and partnership of national sport organisations and governing bodies at both a local and national level.
Cllr Craig Holden, Environment & Housing Spokesperson said:
“I’m pleased that Council have agreed this paper.It’s another step forward in our plans to bring first class leisure and wellbeing provision that meets the needs of all our residents.
“A new wellbeing hub in Clackmannanshire has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of the people who live here. We will continue to gauge their views as we look at the range of exciting options available.”
Cllr Graham Lindsay, Education Spokesperson said:
“We are excited to work with SportScotland on this project, and look forward to developing the relationship with them and our other key partners in the months ahead, to ensure that we drive this innovative project forward and get the leisure and wellbeing provision right for everyone.”
Stewart Harris, CEO of SportScotland said:
“We are strengthening our existing partnership with Clackmannanshire Council to support their aim of developing a long-term strategy to ensure that sport and physical activity is accessible and inclusive, particularly for those who might previously not have felt it was for them.
“We know that by working in partnership we can make the most impact, and by listening to what matters locally, more people will be able to enjoy the benefits of sport and physical activity as part of their daily lives. This is a real opportunity to deliver a sporting system to connect the local community and we look forward to working together to help shape that ambition.”
Expertise and advice has also been offered from other national and local partners including the University of Stirling who have not long completed a new leisure facility, as well as Scottish Futures Trust and NHS Forth Valley.
While the development continues to take shape, interim provision is being put in place. Swimming is a key priority, with places in neighbouring facilities still being restricted due to COVID. Making sure that residents have access across the county to the type of activity they want, is being developed and will be shared online and with community groups to ensure that everyone is sighted on the facilities and clubs that they can access.
Over the summer, there will be a specific focus on providing activities for families who have missed out and experienced the most isolation during lockdown. Plans for this Summer of Wellbeing will be available on our website shortly
You can read the full council paper on our website.