Could you play a role in shaping trust's future?

The hunt is on to find people who can help develop and deliver sport and cultural services in the area for years to come.

Tuesday, 28th March 2017, 5:00 pm

Falkirk Community Trust is currently seeking three new independent board members.

The trio being replaced include current chairman Ian Scott, and all have been involved since the trust’s inception in 2011.

Responsible for a myriad of services, the trust was developed by Falkirk Council to deliver its culture, leisure and library services through a new charitable organisation.

It operates and manages strategic parks, golf courses, sports facilities and pitches, libraries and museums, arts venues and town halls.

The trust provides sports, heritage and arts development programmes, health and fitness and outdoor learning, as well as delivering the Active Schools programme.

It also manages the world renowned Helix project.

The board is made up of five independent and two co-opted directors, as well as five councillors, who meet around five times per year.

Their role is to oversee the trust’s operation and help develop the organisation, as well as ensuring it maximises external funding opportunities.

Directors have a two year office and can serve for a maximum of three terms.

Looking back on his six years with the trust, Mr Scott paid tribute to those he had worked alongside.

He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in a more direct way with the people who deliver culture and sport, as well as seeing first hand the absolutely excellent work they do.

“Personally I knew a lot about culture, while areas of sport were new to me but I enjoyed learning a lot and working with the management team and the other board members.

“The trust’s first six years has been at a time of real financial difficulties yet we have still managed to oversee a major expansion in provision which is admirable.”

As chairman, Mr Scott has attended numerous events and rates the unveiling of the Kelpies as a highlight.

He added: “It was a fantastic evening and I feel privileged to have been part of it. But I’ve enjoyed many events with another highlight the Silent Film Festival at the Hippodrome in Bo’ness.”

Also stepping down after three terms is Alex McQuade, the honorary president of Falkirk Rugby Club.

Reflecting on his time with the trust, he said: “It’s been very rewarding but the last couple of years in particular have been challenging.

“However, looking around at what the trust has achieved it is a success story: the new gym in Stenhousemuir has opened, the Helix and Kelpies which the trust has responsibility, the new running track at Grangemouth Stadium and the plans for the soft play at the Mariner Centre to give a full day family experience.

“And this is all at a time when they have been trimming back on people but still developing new facilities.”

All the directors spoke of how their experience on the board had opened their eyes as to how the public sector operated.

Musician Bob Tait, who also stands down later this year, said he had found it enlightening. He said: “I’ve learned a lot about the workings of local government, much of which I had never experienced before. In the main, my time with the trust has been wonderful, particularly working with chief executive Maureen Campbell and general manager Neil Brown.

“Their skill, vision and enthusiasm, along with many others they work with, is what keeps the trust going.

“For everyone it is getting harder and harder with financial constraints. The trust was bringing in more money through revenue but unfortunately we couldn’t get the capital money from the council.”

One of his major disappointments is that between them the council and trust were unable to deliver on a new town hall for Falkirk.

He added: “It’s a painful memory that there were plans but they cannot be delivered and Falkirk is the poorer for it.”

However, on a happier note he recalls the unveiling of the Kelpies in 2014 as being a very special experience.

“I remember standing with Provost Pat Reid and others with our backs to the motorway looking across the lagoon towards Falkirk with all the lights and there was a magical quality to it. I said ‘is this really Falkirk?’ – it was a very special moment.”

David White is a co-opted director who joined the board 18 months ago. With a background in banking, he also said it has been an enlightening experience on how the public sector and in particular, Falkirk Council, operates.

He said: “I’m really impressed by the quality and standard of the work produced by Maureen Campbell and the senior management team. What they produce is as good as anything found in the private sector.”

Encouraging others to get involved and help shape sports and cultural services in Falkirk district for the future, he added: “The trust remits spans a great spectrum – from the Helix to the Hippodrome, and with a diverse range of venues. I came from a football background and it has been a real eye-opener to be involved in the cultural side of the trust.

“It’s certainly something I would encourage others to get involved in. It gives you an insight into how the council operates, but also can be part of some exciting developments.”

Trust chief executive Maureen Campbell is looking forward to receiving a high calibre of applications from people from differing backgrounds.

She said: “We are hoping to attract people who have outstanding business skills and experience coupled with a genuine interest and commitment to supporting the development of culture, sport and recreation in the Falkirk area. It would be ideal if one of the new directors is also able to assist and influence the board connections with the healthy living agenda.”

The closing date for applications is April 7 and should be made in writing to Ms Campbell at the trust offices at Suite 1A, The Falkirk Stadium, 4 Stadium Way, Falkirk, FK2 9EE.