(NOTE: Councillor R. Sparks having earlier declared an interest in this item left the meeting during its consideration by the Committee)
The Committee received a report on the Council’s proposals to consult on a new 10 year Leisure and Outdoor Recreation Strategy for the County. The report centred on the main themes of:-
· Where the Authority had been and its journey from 2007-2022
· Where it was now
· Where it was going
The Committee was advised that subject to Cabinet approval the Strategy would be subject to a period of public consultation with the aim of formal adoption by Easter 2023. Furthermore, if adopted, the financing of the Strategy would have to be met from within existing budgets, both revenue and capital
A number of questions / issues were raised on the report which included the following:
· Reference was made to the focus areas in the report for the outdoor recreation service and to the absence of any specific provision for fishing throughout the county, particularly, the lakes within the Council’s ownership in the Millenium Coastal Park.
The Head of Leisure reminded the Committee that fishing was currently prohibited within those lakes due to the presence of the invasive species known as the Top Mouth Gudgeon and that the Authority was working closely with Natural Resources Wales to facilitate its eradication. He advised that he would arrange for the local members to be apprised of the current position.
He further acknowledged the lack of any specific reference to fishing within the Strategy, but that reference thereto could be included within the final version.
· With regard to a question on the methodology used to calculate the Social Value of Actif Sports and Leisure, the Head of Leisure advised that the Council had liaised with the 4Global and Sheffield Hallam University thereon and he could arrange for that methodology to be shared with members of the Committee, if requested
· With regard to monitoring the contribution of leisure services in tackling poverty, the Head of Leisure confirmed monitoring was undertaken via national school data for 7year olds together with data from the Welsh Government and the Sports Council relating to Adults. He confirmed he would arrange for members of the Committee to be provided with a high level summary of the relevant data.
· Reference was made to the contribution leisure made to the health of the population and to whether there was scope for the Hywel Dda Health Board to contribute towards the cost of that provision
The Committee was advised that wherever possible the Authority worked in collaboration with the Health Board an example of which was the GP Referral scheme. However, it was confirmed strengthening that link and securing more commissioned preventative health work would be a key action over the Strategy period.
· In response to a question on the level of childhood obesity amongst the 4-5 year age group, the Head of Leisure advised that whilst that had reduced in recent years, levels were now increasing and leisure services together with the education department and other stakeholders such as Public Health Wales were endeavouring to reverse that trend.
· In response to a question on minority sports, the Head of Leisure confirmed that wherever possible the division worked with the individual sport’s respective governing body and had previously provided financial assistance to a number of those bodies via schemes funded by Sports Council Wales and the Welsh Government.
· In response to a question on the potential impact the current economic climate may have on the strategy’s delivery and, specifically, the U.K. Government’s forthcoming mini budget, it was confirmed that this would be part of the corporate budget consultation exercise over the coming months and subsequent years.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the 10 year Leisure, Culture and Outdoor Recreation Strategy be endorsed.