Edinburgh Leisure’s facilities still need help from government to cope with Covid crisis – Steve Cardownie

Edinburgh Leisure has flagged up that extra funds are needed or facilities could face closure, writes Steve Cardownie.

By Steve Cardownie
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 12:30 pm
June Peebles has warned that facilities may face closure
June Peebles has warned that facilities may face closure

That Edinburgh Leisure re-opened six venues in the city on Monday was very good news and provided another example of things getting back to normal, although the prospect of the imposition of a second lockdown looms.

Of course everything is being done to avoid a second lockdown and if the public adhere to the new rules then there is every chance that it can be averted. It is in our own hands.

There are however longer term economic difficulties facing Edinburgh Leisure and its chief executive, June Peebles, has already flagged up the prospect of facilities facing permanent closure if additional funds to bridge the financial gap are not forthcoming.

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The ball is in the public authorities’ court. Both Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government have been made all too aware of the situation and have been implored to make more funding available but, as yet, they have still to respond.

The organisation has suffered a drastic fall in takings due to facilities having to be mothballed for months on end and Edinburgh Leisure’s ability to make up the shortfall if left to its own devices would inevitably mean permanent closures or price increases, both of which are unpalatable measures that the public should not be forced to endure.

The need to address the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s population has been a well-rehearsed argument over the years and with an ageing population and the issue of increasing obesity the last thing we need is leisure centres putting up “closed due to circumstances beyond our control” signs.

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