Leisure trust chief hails success in tough times

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The chairman of the trust operating Argyll and Bute’s leisure services has hailed 2020/21 as ‘another year of success and achievement’.

In liveArgyll’s annual report, Andrew Nisbet paid tribute to workers in the leisure sector across the area for their continued efforts during the pandemic.

Mr Nisbet also highlighted the trust’s investment in new facilities at leisure centres around the area, as well as the expansion of digital borrowing software for libraries.

‘It is something of an understatement to say that 2020/21 was an extremely difficult year due to the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic presented for our organisation and wider society,’ Mr Nisbet said.

‘But, despite the challenges, this has been another year of success and achievement. [Our] successes are even more remarkable given the vastly changed operating environment.

‘At the outset, I must pay tribute and record my thanks to our management team and our staff group who have responded admirably to each and every challenge they have faced. Without their efforts and dedication, liveArgyll would not be in such a stable position to move forward and face any post pandemic challenges.

‘I would also like to thank our partner organisations, Argyll and Bute Council, Community Leisure UK, sportscotland, Creative Scotland and the many other organisations who individually and collectively provided us with support in various different guises.

‘liveArgyll is a ‘can do’ organisation and this is clearly evidenced by the fact that despite the significant disruption to our frontline services, our focus remained on our core objectives and what we could offer.

‘This ‘can do’ culture meant that, wherever possible, we endeavoured to offer a form of service to our users, be it online support, online fitness classes, digital music events or enhanced library borrow-box services.

‘This pro-active approach to service adaptation meant liveArgyll was one of a very few organisations to re-open all of its leisure facilities at the earliest allowable date.’

Mr Nisbet added: ‘liveArgyll as an organisation played, and continues to play, a key role in the community response to the pandemic.

‘Working with the NHS and Argyll and Bute Council, we supported a number of initiatives such as making our facilities available for a variety of purposes not limited to but including storage of medical equipment, vaccination clinics and community testing centres.

‘A group of staff were also trained to support the national Test and Protect programme.

‘Across Argyll and Bute, individual members of staff also supported a range of local community initiatives including food support hubs, food and medicine delivery and community keeping in touch call programmes.

‘Undoubtedly there will be challenges ahead, however, we are in a stable position to meet these challenges and I am confident that liveArgyll will not only be able to return to excellent pre pandemic levels of performance but will build and improve upon these.’