It operates and manages 14 sites, including Carnegie Leisure Centre, Pitreavie Athletics Stadium and Dalgety Bay Sports Centre, on behalf of Fife Council and has faced a challenge to increase visitor numbers and opening hours after Covid.
However the picture of health is improving and Jennifer Shields, the trust’s PR and communications lead officer, said: “We are not expecting any significant cuts or alterations to opening hours for 2024.
The opening hours, reinstated last August after funding from Fife Council, will remain in place at Dalgety Bay Sports and Leisure Centre. (Image: Newsquest)
“The reinstated hours will remain unchanged all except for Cowdenbeath which is going to temporarily close for refurbishment in April.”
Immediately after the pandemic when restrictions were lifted, the trust ran into financial difficulties and was forced to reduce operating hours.
They were only reinstated at four venues – including Cowdenbeath and Dalgety Bay – in August on a trial basis thanks to £300,000 from the local authority.
With no guarantee that funding would continue, there was a doubt about the opening hours beyond the end of March.
However, the trust has now confirmed that the hours are here to stay throughout this year.
Sharron McCormick, the marketing, communications and sales manager, said: “The positive news is that the hours that have been reinstated are going to stay in place for 2024.
Fife Sports and Leisure Trust run an award-winning programme on learning to swim. (Image: Fife Sports and Leisure Trust)
“Across Scotland, you see reports of venues at risk of closure or their operating hours being cut – we haven’t done any of that.
“We’re actually out here promoting things, like a new membership scheme, which is really different.”
She continued: “It’s really important to recognise that things are always up for review, but we’re going out with a positive message for 2024.”
The Trust has given the credit for both the £8 million Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre refurbishment and the reinstated opening hours to Fife Council.
“It’s all thanks to the support we receive from them,” Ms Shields said.
“We have a very strong relationship with the council who really recognise the value of our services and our goal to grow within our communities.”
The new pricing and membership scheme began early in the New Year and the trust say it has already brought more people through the doors, and saved customers from £7 to £22 per month.
Ms McCormick said: “Overall, it’s been a great success. The feedback so far has been really positive.”
Until recently, the trust had a staggering 72 different categories of membership across its 14 sites.
Now, there are three: club membership, lite membership and club play membership.
Ms Shields explained: “It offers unlimited access to our gyms, our swimming pools, and over 250 weekly classes across all venues in Fife.”
Previously the cost could be as high as £60 per month, with different prices for different venues, now the most expensive membership costs £38 and it’s one flat rate no matter what venue customers use.
She added: “We’re hoping the new membership gives more value for money and more opportunities for people to get active in 2024.”
As part of the trust’s structural overhaul, it is also planning to unveil a digital fitness programme for Fifers later this year.