THE extra £300,000 that helped increase opening hours at Dalgety Bay Sports and Leisure Centre was a success - but there's no guarantee it'll continue.

Fife Sports and Leisure Trust admitted that they're only likely to stay in place if Fife Council show them the money.

Cash was found in the budget to help extend opening hours at four venues from August, including Cowdenbeath and Dalgety Bay, and it paid off with a surge in visitors.

However, a trust report reminded the South and West Fife area committee that temporary funding is only in place until the end of March.

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The committee convener, Councillor David Barratt, said the cash boost had a "positive impact" and asked: "With that funding ending next year will the opening hours remain, given it's been successful?"

Dunfermline Press: Convener of the South and West Fife area committee, David Barratt, asked if the current opening hours would remain in place. Convener of the South and West Fife area committee, David Barratt, asked if the current opening hours would remain in place. (Image: Fife Council)

Scott Urquhart, head of operations at the trust, replied: "At this time I can't give you an answer.

"Over the course of this week our chief executive will meet with finance and the leader of the administration (Cllr David Ross) to discuss our management fee and funding going forward.

"Once we know the outcome of these discussions I can give you a more in-depth answer as to where we're going with opening hours.

"It would be our intention for them to remain as long as the funding is there to support them."

After a huge loss of income during the pandemic, the trust cut opening hours after Covid restrictions were lifted.

The report to the committee said the additional 15 hours a week at Dalgety Bay had helped increase the "overall throughout" by 36 per cent.

Mr Urquhart said their main challenge was to try and return participation rates at their 14 venues back to pre-Covid levels.

For the first six months of the financial year, they've as good as achieved it in Dalgety Bay with 98 per cent - 75,267 visits - and "continuous growth in the numbers".

The trust also highlighted partnership working and said the tie-up with Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, who agreed a long-term block-booking in 2021, was a "fantastic example".

It was also controversial and Cllr Barratt said: "I know with the Swifts having the venue there, it's been a very successful partnership and I think that possibly led to the European Amputee Football Nations League coming as well which was again very successful.

"But there was a perception at the time that other clubs and users were displaced.

"Has that largely been resolved now?"

Mr Urquhart admitted: "With the Swifts there was initial negative feedback, not just from the clubs but from the community too.

"I think we're through that now and there's been a lot of positive engagement with clubs that used Dalgety Bay.

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"For example, Bayside, we're working hard with them on their access to the grass pitch and what their requirements are."

Cllr Patrick Browne said he had recently met with Mr Urquhart and trust chief executive Emma Walker and added: "I was very encouraged by the conversation we had as I hadn't realised just how extensive the activities certainly in the sports centre at Dalgety Bay actually are.

"I think there's a perception in the local community that it's basically a football venue.

"It isn't. Obviously the Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts are there and that's a welcome contribution to the facility but there's a lot more happening there as well."

He highlighted the report to the committee which said the venue has "the largest gymnastics programme in Fife" as well as "the largest junior activity programme".