To receive a presentation from Mr. Peter Amies, Head of Community and Environment on the Local Authority Support for Sport initiative.
The Head of Community and Environmental Services, gave a presentation on the Local Authority Support for Sport. It was reported that Rushmoor was considered a stronghold for sport and had second to none facilities within its boundaries. The majority of the facilities within the Borough were self-funded and ran on a voluntary basis. However, a small number provided by the Council were, in particular:
· Aldershot Indoor Pools
· Aldershot Lido
· Southwood Golf Course
· Farnborough Leisure Centre
· Connaught Leisure Centre
As part of the Council’s 8-Point Plan, discretionary services were under scrutiny and it was important to try and make them as self-funding as possible. The Panel recognised that sports facilities were expensive to run and replace.
Over the past six years, it was noted that £27 million had been invested in the Borough’s sports and play facilities. Funding had been provided from numerous sources including the Department for Children, Schools and Families, Sport England and the Military. The Borough had in the region of £100 million worth of sport/play assets within its boundaries.
Mr. Amies advised of the Council’s strategic priorities, including health and wellbeing, community safety, economic development, social cohesion and inequalities, neighbourhood renewal and educational attainment. Sport played its part in addressing these priorities through: physical activity to help combat medical issues such as diabetes and obesity; the employment of 700 part/full time staff and 1,000 volunteers; and, Sport for All – tackling inequality and raising aspirations through the “Be the Best” initiative. The Panel viewed a short video titled the “Hampshire Youth Games – Mission Possible”, which shared inspiring stories from young people involved in the games held in Aldershot.
The Panel was then apprised of the numerous other activities available around the Borough, these included walking groups, couch to 5k and Park Run, cycling and walking football and basketball, specifically aimed at the older generation. It was noted that Rushmoor had reached the top ten authorities nationally in the “Active People’s Survey”, for participating in 30 minutes or more activity a week. It was also noted that 100% of its junior football clubs had been awarded with Charter Mark status and several clubs, across different disciplines, had produced Olympic athletes.
It was important that the sporting clubs throughout the Borough remained sustainable by developing opportunities to generate income, investing to save, reducing running costs and securing funding opportunities. Some clubs rented space to other organisations in their facilities during the day when buildings would not normally be in use and others had links with prestigious clubs or sports providers. Some benefitted from sponsorship from local or national companies and others supported charities, such as “Race for Life”.
The Panel discussed the presentation and the issues around sporting facilities and it was noted that some residents still believed that there was nothing available for young people in the Borough. It was also mentioned that the Rushmoor Gymnastics Academy had trouble funding coaches as its finances were tight. In response to a query, it was explained that funding was still available from the likes of Sustrans, which had previously contributed £130,000 for improvements to the Cove Brook Greenway.
The Borough’s two football clubs were mentioned and it was advised that an update could be given at a future meeting. A discussion would take place at the next mid-cycle meeting to determine the way forward.
The Chairman thanked Mr. Amies for his presentation.