Public leisure services are an investment, not a cost - June Peebles

These are difficult times. We emerge from a global pandemic only to be confronted with several new challenges: rocketing energy costs, unprecedented increases in the cost of living, real term reductions in public sector budgets, poverty on the rise, strikes….

In such challenging circumstances looking after our health and wellbeing takes on even more importance and being and staying active helps us all do just that.

Regular physical activity provides a range of physical, mental, social, environmental, and economic benefits. Thank you to those that choose to be active with Edinburgh Leisure. You are investing in your health and wellbeing but also helping to boost the wellbeing of the whole city. Every penny you spend with Edinburgh Leisure helps more people to be active.

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The current economic climate is undoubtedly challenging and the future uncertain. We’re responding and adapting as best we can to maintain our services but, looking ahead, there is a serious threat to the viability of charitable public leisure services in Scotland, including Edinburgh Leisure’s venues and services. This threat translates into a threat to the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s population.

June Peebles, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Leisure

Whilst the outlook for 2023/24 and beyond is certainly bumpy what helps me and my team is knowing that by supporting people to be active, we make a positive difference to so many lives.

Our Active Communities projects play a significant role in supporting some of Edinburgh’s most vulnerable people to improve their levels of activity and, often, reducing the impact on health and social care services. Demand for these services has increased (as compared to pre COVID-19) and we continue to explore partnership and funding opportunities to enable us to support even more people to be active.

Volunteers are vital to the success of the Active Communities projects – they are committed individuals who enjoy being active and enjoy helping others to be active. If volunteering is something you have considered, please visit our website.

Aside from the financial challenges, like many industries, recruiting enthusiastic people, who are passionate about working with others and making a positive impact, is difficult. And, due to a shortage of teachers, we’ve had to pause and reduce our swim coaching progamme at Glenogle and Dalry Swim Centres.

We are taking many initiatives to address the situation but if you know of any jobseekers or individuals looking for a career change, please ask them to apply via our website.

Thank you for your support in 2022. As we work our way through 2023, please continue to invest in your own wellbeing, and that of your family and friends. While the future may not look so bright, it’s proven that moving gives us an endorphin rush, along with enormous health benefits, so let’s be active and have hope!

I frequently comfort myself with the words ‘there is always hope’ and I continue to hope the UK and the Scottish Government recognise that Edinburgh Leisure and other public leisure services are an investment and not a cost and take action to protect these valuable services.

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June Peebles, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Leisure

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