Mike Robinson, Live Actve Leisure Chairman:
"After five years as the Chairman of Live Active Leisure (LAL), and nearly ten on the Board, the time has come for me to step down. I have always been passionate about affordable sport and leisure and believe it is a critical underpinning of our quality of life, so I am delighted to have been part of a team, part of this local community charity that is dedicated to delivering accessible, affordable sports, fitness and wellbeing opportunities for everyone in Perth and Kinross.
“The past 18 months have undoubtedly been the most challenging of my tenure. The whole decade I have been involved has been one of austerity and reductions in public finances, and so what was already a challenging financial climate has been made even more critical with the impact of Covid. And if that wasn’t enough to have to contend with, this was even further exacerbated by the flooding of Perth Leisure Pool in August 2020.
“The effects of the catastrophic flood and 14-month closure of our flagship pool has only served to magnify the weaknesses in this 33-year-old building, and reminded me how vital this facility is for the whole area.
It is such a relief that we are able to open the pool again at long last, but we are not out of the Covid woods yet, and I would encourage everyone to get back to the pool, the gym, the exercise classes and your clubs and activities – we are run for the benefit of the community and we can’t continue to operate without you.
As a Board, faced with this array of challenges, we have we taken a number of bold but necessary steps to get through the pandemic, to support the staff, customers and venues and to try to maintain services and ensure we stay financially viable, using reserves where appropriate to bolster services and make continued improvements, but this is not viable longer-term and so we come to a critical juncture for Live Active.
“Since before I joined the Board, we have made it clear we need to replace the Leisure Pool and ice rink with new up-to-date facilities - PH2O as we have named the project. Faced with this multitude of financial and other challenges this project is now more vital than ever. All the political parties have given their support for this scheme, but it now needs certainty, and a commitment to the budget, or we are going to see some real reductions in leisure and sports provision across the whole of Perth & Kinross. Quite apart from the multitude of health and activity benefits that PH20 would offer, it has now become the only way we can sustain swimming, curling and the full range of leisure we expect from a modern city like Perth. Without it, there is a very real risk of unplanned closures, increasing expenditure costs and declining customer footfall, the impact of which will be felt across services that we deliver across Perth and Kinross.
“The PH20 project will be considered by Perth & Kinross Council as part of their capital projects on the 6th of October. I know it has the support of the political parties, but I hope you will also lend it your support. We have one of the most active populations of anywhere in Scotland. This investment is vital and a signal that local people are going to have the same opportunities to remain active over the next few decades.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at Live Active Leisure, my fellow board members, senior management team, both past and present, the partners and stakeholders who work with LAL to ensure our communities receive such excellent opportunities, and to all the coaches, clubs and volunteers who play such a critical role in delivering activities across the area. And of course, I would like to thank you - all of the customers for your patience and support over this difficult time and for the whole of the last decade and more. It has been a privilege to serve as your Chairman.”