Concerns mount over school let charges

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The first battalion meeting of the session took place last week and the hot topic was the charges newly imposed by Falkirk Community Trust for the use of school and leisure premises.

These were previously free to community groups such as the Boys’ Brigade.

Falkirk Council fosters voluntary groups in its efforts to nurture young people to being better citizens and more active in the community. Now its subsidiary, Falkirk Community Trust, looking after leisure activities and premises, seems to have departed this established partnership. Ostensibly without consultation with Falkirk Council or user groups, charges have been applied which will mean additional expense, for some companies amounting to thousands of pound per year.

The Trust does partner Active Schools” where volunteers foster interest and run sports activities for young people. This body has existed for 10 years. The BB has been successfully training volunteers in identical fields for more than 130 years, yet it suffers financially as Active Schools access the same premises at no charge!

The reports in this column are often of general interest or of a particular BB event. This imposition of charges affects many of our nearly 20 companies and should be challenged to ensure fairness in approach to groups such as our own. Our voluntary groups, which do not run for profit and which, through trained personnel, use structured activities, seek to advance Christ’s Kingdom among young people and provide discipline and self respect essential for good citizenship. Perhaps, in addition to the efforts of battalion officials, as parents, church or presbytery members, councillors or community trustees, you may feel you can add weight to this issue which seems to be a complete injustice and must be addressed.