A SCHOOL in Ellesmere will take on the management of sports facilities on its premises after Shropshire Council announced it will stop its financial support.
Lakelands Academy will manage Lakelands Sports Centre from April 1, 2014, to keep facilities open to the community following Shropshire Council Leisure Services’ decision to stop managing the centre.
Sarah Davies, business manager at Lakelands Academy, said: “Shropshire Council Leisure Services decided to withdraw their management services at the centre. This left the academy in a position where the doors would close on the service to the community.
“We are very much tied with our community and want to do our best to ensure we can continue to offer facilities.
The decision comes as Shropshire Council tackles further financial pressures from budget cuts of £80 million announced earlier this year.
Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council Cabinet member for leisure, said: “As a commissioning authority, we are looking to transfer the responsibility for the operation of leisure facilities to local organisations and groups, and indeed this has already taken place with positive results at a number of joint-use sites across the county.
“In the case of Lakelands Sports Centre, it would be ideal for Lakelands Academy to manage the facility as the school is at the heart of the community and understands its needs. This would enable activities and programmes to be based more closely on the demands and needs of users from in and around Ellesmere.
“The council would support the operation of the centre through an annual contribution in return for continued community use of the facility. School governors are currently considering the financial viability of the transfer before anything is finalised,” he added.
l An open meeting with Shropshire Council and Lakelands Academy management is being held on December 11, between 6pm and 7pm, to discuss the transitions which will take place next year. Existing hirers and interested parties are invited to attend.