More than 2.5 million people visited one of Fife Sports and Leisure Trust centres in the last year, according to new figures.
According to the trust, set up in 2008 to operate and manage Fife Council’s 14 sports centres, pool use was up 1.4% and use of outdoor facilities by 5.4%.
The over-60s market also continues to rise. Between April 2018 and March, attendances rose by 5.2%, the eighth consecutive year the older generation are getting active in greater numbers.
A health and physical activity programme, funded through investment by the trust, continued its commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of communities.
Active Options 2, a referral-based programme for people living with long-term health conditions, saw an increase of 17.5%, and Move More Fife, a programme supporting people during and after cancer, increased by 18%.
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Online, applications for its affordable membership scheme Leisure Active rose by 59% and there was a rise of 5.5% in bookings being made via its website.
Other specialised programmes, such as the trust’s concession scheme, are up by 5.2%, and the talented sports performer programme has recorded a rise by 33.6% in use.
Despite a challenging year due to increased competition from the private sector and extensive refurbishment programmes in some of its facilities, more people are now using Beacon Leisure Centre, Bowhill Pool, Cupar Leisure Centre, East Sands Leisure Centre, Lumphinnans Sports and Waterstone Crook Sports Centre.
Chief executive Ed Watson said: “The trust has seen some challenges this year with some temporary disruption to sites for refurbishment works and there has been greater competitive pressure from private gyms, along with a period of good weather over the summer affecting attendances.
“However, we have seen some significant areas of growth and continued success in engaging with the local community to get more active.”
Community and housing convener, Labour councillor Judy Hamilton, added : “This is a really positive report.
“The trust has delivered a strong set of results with overall attendances having increased despite temporary closures in some facilities.
“It is encouraging to see the continued popularity of the Move More programme.
“The increase in referrals is extremely positive and can only help the health of the individuals concerned at a time when its most needed.
“The council, trust and its partners work together to ensure there is affordable, accessible opportunities which allow us to give people the ability to participate in physical activities, which helps improve the health and well being of all communities across Fife.”