The reaction has been strong to South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture's decision to withdraw from some services across Clydesdale

At its meeting today, the Board of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC) considered proposals placed before it which would see SLLC withdraw its services from a number of facilities, with the venues being handed back to South Lanarkshire Council (SLC), on whose behalf SLLC operates the venues.
Just some of the village halls now set for closure throughout Clydesdale.Just some of the village halls now set for closure throughout Clydesdale.
Just some of the village halls now set for closure throughout Clydesdale.

SLC, together with councils across Scotland, continues to face unprecedented budgetary pressures, with it having an expected budget gap over the next two years of some £42 million. As SLLC’s largest funder, this has had a knock-on impact on the services SLLC can itself deliver.

Chair of the Board of SLLC, Dr Avril Osborne, commented: “Decisions were required to be taken in light of existing financial pressures placed on SLLC as well as SLC’s decision at its own Budget setting meeting last week to reduce the management fee it provides to SLLC to run its services.

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“A comprehensive consultation process with residents and other stakeholders took place between November last year and this month which saw around 14,500 responses received across the three stages of the resident consultation.

“Work has been ongoing throughout to examine how we best mitigate matters, including through efficiencies, rationalisation and increased income generation. However, with a regulatory duty to ensure we return a balanced budget, the Board has, with regret, agreed to withdraw from the following facilities:

Clydesdale area: Crawford Village Hall; Coulter Village Hall; Carmichael Village Hall; Crossford Village Hall; Braehead Village Hall; Tom Craig Hall; Carstairs Junction Hall; Thankerton Village Hall; Douglas St. Brides Hall; Carstairs Village Hall; Pettinain Village Hall and Forth Library.

SLC last week announced that £1million is to be made available to affected communities through the Community Fightback Fund (CFF) for a period of time while consideration is given to the viability of facilities and whether community management may be a long-term option. In addition, the Future Libraries Fund is separate, one-off, monies that could help keep facilities open.

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Further funding arrangements could include access to Renewable Energy Funds (REF) that are administered by the Council, if the community hall is located in one of the REF areas in Clydesdale, East Kilbride and Strathaven.

It is anticipated that groups which believe they have a credible interest in potentially managing their local facility will be able to register this interest throughout March 2024 and therefore be able to apply for funding through the funds available.

Dr Osborne concluded: “SLLC and SLC are already engaged in the community to actively support continuation of facilities through these initiatives and that support will continue in the months ahead.”

South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture’s withdrawal from the affected facilities will take effect from May 1.

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Any local groups wishing to register an interest should email the council at [email protected] before 31 March 2024.

Further information on community asset transfers can be found on the relevant SLC webpage

Details of the three phases of the SLLC consultation can be found on our website.

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