THE long-term future of Verwood Hub and Verwood Community Sports Hall could be secured if it is run by the council, the authority says.
Sports and leisure facilities at the site will be run in future by the Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership if recommendations put forward today to East Dorset District Council’s Resources Committee get the go-ahead.
The facilities are currently managed by Verwood Arts and Leisure Amenities (VALA), which up to this year has received annual grants of £130,000 from East Dorset District Council and £60,000 from Verwood Town Council.
Due to reductions in funding from central government, East Dorset District Council says it has had to re-examine the grants it can offer organisations and has suggested reducing the grants to VALA to £110,000 from April 2014 and then to £90,000 from April 2015.
It is also reviewing the management of leisure services provided at QE Leisure Centre in Wimborne and Two Riversmeet Leisure Centre in Christchurch.
Neil Farmer, strategic director at the Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership, said: “It would make sense for us to consider the future management of Verwood leisure facilities at the same time as we review facilities in Wimborne and Christchurch with a view to running them together to bring greater economies of scale and potential savings.
“We are recommending that the facilities at Verwood Hub and Verwood Community Sports Hall, currently managed by VALA, should transfer to be managed directly by the partnership.
“The partnership recognises and appreciates the excellent work undertaken by VALA over a number of years. The directors of VALA understand the financial benefits to the council of taking facilities back in house and have agreed to hand the facilities to us from April 1, 2014, should East Dorset’s Resources Committee agree with the recommendations.
“Anyone who has a membership at the Lifestyle Active gym can rest assured that their membership will continue with no changes.”
VALA directors have suggested that they maintain the running of the sports pitches at Potterne Park. This will depend on VALA approaching Verwood Town Council to discuss a funding package.