Move on Sunday opening for Lewis Sports Centre

Should a trial Sunday opening be approved for the sports centre the Comhairle say it would be for a minimum of three hours and for a twelve-month period.

A campaign group lobbying the Comhairle to open the Lewis Sports Centre on Sundays are hopeful that a trial seven-day opening period will be approved when it goes before councillors later this month.

The Families into Sport for Health (FiSH) group insist it is a duty of the Comhairle to open the Lewis Sports Centre at times more suitable to families and bring Lewis in line with those on both Barra and South Uist.

Should a trial Sunday opening be approved the Comhairle say it would be for a minimum of three hours and for a twelve-month period.

A spokesperson for the Comhairle commented: “A request was received  in June 2016 for a report to be submitted to the next meeting of the relevant committee on the feasibility of opening ISL each Sunday for a minimun of three hours for a twelve month trial period.

“As more than one committee has an interest in this matter, the report will be considered by Policy and Resources  on 5th October 2016.

“The report and its recommendations have not yet been finalised but will be published at least one week in advance of that committee as is normal practice. The report will provide information and context to enable Members to determine the matter.”

FiSH distributed a survey in 2015 which they say showed overwhelming support for Sunday opening of ISL (71% in support of its opening) by its users.

Elma Macleod, a long time campaigner for a seven-day service and member of FiSH said: “FiSH was formed to represent the thousands of individuals and families locally that have been requesting a seven day opening of ISL facilities.

“Overwhelming evidence from the users of ISL now shows a strong demand for seven day opening amongst the users of the facility.

“And there is strong evidence to show it would be very well used, particularly on the many wet and windy Sundays we get through the winter.

“As evidenced by the recent survey, opening the facility both days of the weekend will encourage an enhanced level of sports participation among our young people, a current priority for the Western Isles Community Planning Partnership.”

In the recent survey of ISL users, FiSH report that one of the most popular comments from respondents was that as the sports centres in the Southern Isles are able to open both days of the weekend unlike users in Lewis.

The lobby group have long since called for Ionad Spors Leodais to come in line with those of the Southern Isles facilities.

A spokesperson for FiSH added: “Evidence from Highland Region sports facilities show similar revenue generation levels on both Saturdays and Sundays and so the upcoming twelve month and seven day trial in Stornoway will seek to gauge further the extent of the already stated demand for Sunday opening.

“Many in the community are watching in great anticipation looking forward to extended access to health and sports facilities in the Stornoway area.”

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