Service Overview

Falkirk Council delivers the following services through an Arms Length External Organisation (ALEO) – Falkirk Community Trust - which was established by the Council in 2011. The Trust is responsible for delivering the following areas of service:

  • Sport & Fitness including Active Schools
  • Recreation
  • Arts
  • Heritage
  • Libraries
  • Strategic Parks

A Culture & Sport Strategy for the area "Inspiring Active Lives" provides the strategic direction for these services with priority themes of Participation / Motivation / Venues / Partnership. Link:

The Culture & Sport Strategy was developed by the Trust on behalf of Falkirk Council and recognises the national plans and policies of the following:

  • Creative Scotland
  • sportscotland
  • Scottish Library and Information Council
  • Museums Galleries Scotland

The Trust manages over 80 sites across the Falkirk Council area and offers services of interest and value to all Falkirk Council area residents throughout their lives from pre-school to retirement. Particularly through heritage, arts and strategic parks, the Trust also contributes to attracting visitors to the area and supports the Council's Tourism Strategy. The area has a high proportion of families and young people and a number of programmes are aimed at this audience. Some communities suffer from multiple deprivations and healthy lifestyle programmes are aimed at those most in need. Discounted and free access to facilities and programmes is available for those most in need.

Many of the major venues were built in the 1960s and their condition is one of the main factors affecting performance. Several buildings face investment requirements to address structural, mechanical and electrical issues and, whilst existing customers are supportive, there is a need to ensure sufficient quality to attract customers. The area is well served by facilities in communities such as libraries, sports venues, parks and playing fields, to the extent that some such as neighbourhood sports centres are underutilised at off peak times.

In September 2013 the Trust took over operation of the Helix, a major new park developed by the Council and Scottish Canals with Big Lottery and other funding. This £40m plus project has transformed the landscape between Falkirk and Grangemouth and is a significant visitor attraction. The addition of this asset has contributed to indicator C&L4.


Trust Performance

Highlights:

  • C&L3 cost of Museums per visit – increase in visitor numbers combined with operating efficiencies contributed to achievement of higher ranking.
  • C&L5A % adults satisfied with Libraries – top quartile position maintained and satisfaction rates confirmed by locally undertaken survey of customers.
  • C&L5D % of adults satisfied with leisure facilities – top quartile position welcomed and is a significant improvement; locally confirmed by positive feedback from existing customer base.
  • C&L 4 cost of parks & open spaces per 1,000 – improved ranking affected by addition of major new site (The Helix) attracting high numbers of visits.
    (this indicator is shared across all parks in the Falkirk Council area)

Areas for improvement:

  • C&L5C % adults satisfied with museums and galleries – lower ranking in 16-17 despite continuous improvement which has been confirmed through Callendar House's 4-star Visit Scotland rating and TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. Callendar House was recently awarded the Tourist Attraction of the Year accolade at the third Scottish Hospitality Awards 2018, voted for by members of the general public.
  • C&L1 cost per attendance at Sports facilities – despite improvement over the last 2 years, this remains in the bottom quartile. The cost of maintaining a large number of ageing buildings requiring significant investment to address structural, mechanical and electrical issues is a significant factor.
  • C&L2 cost per library visit – despite improvement in recent years, this retains a lower ranking largely due to continuing decline in library visits.

What the Trust is doing to improve services?

Significant improvements including a major refurbishment have been completed at Grangemouth Sports Stadium, including replacement of indoor and outdoor running tracks, refurbishment of changing areas and toilets, and a revamped reception area. A new gym opened at Stenhousemuir in September 2015. The refurbishment of the Mariner Centre Wave Machine in 2015 began the revitalisation of the centre as a destination for families, and a new soft play centre is due to open in late 2018. There have been a number of small scale investments at Grangemouth Sports Complex including improvements to the flumes, a new spin studio, and improvements to changing areas all contributing to an improved customer experience.

The Trust has a comprehensive programme to develop Plans that will help forward development of key sites and improve services. The implementation of the Library Development Plan was aided by the opening of a replacement library in Denny in 2016 as part of the wider Denny Town Centre Regeneration. This plan set a vision of libraries as community hubs providing a greater range of services for communities and the Trust is working with the Council to explore opportunities for co-location of services. The Trust has introduced new activities through its heritage services and is continuing to enhance the customer experience at its main heritage venue, Callendar House, broadening the range of experiences on offer.


How can the public get involved?

Consultation

Consultation on the development of Plans is routinely promoted through relevant venues and the Trust’s website.

Get involved

Members of the public can feedback comments in most of our venues, get involved through our volunteering opportunities or become a member of one of our 'Friends of Parks’ groups and we can be contacted on hello@falkirkcommunitytrust.org.