Changes at Low Port Centre in Linlithgow announced

West Lothian Leisure has announced the final stage of its restructuring exercise, which will see Low Port Outdoor Education Centre switch from being a residential facility to a day centre on January 1, 2020.

By Kevin Quinn
Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 7:18 am
Low Port Outdoor Education Centre will switch from being a residential facility to a day centre on January 1, 2020.
Low Port Outdoor Education Centre will switch from being a residential facility to a day centre on January 1, 2020.

In 2018-19 just 13 per cent of bookings at the Linlithgow centre were residential.

All residential bookings until the end of December will be honoured, following which it will continue to host a range of daytime activities for schools providing programmes, as well as open activities for children and adults in the evenings and at weekends.

The Low Port, which will now open from 9am-9pm weekdays and 9am-4pm on weekends, will be home to a new programme of outdoor activities to be launched in 2020.

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The programme will offer seasonal activities and new activities and is aimed at increasing the usage of outdoor facilities in West Lothian.

Additionally, stage three of the restructuring will see a slight reduction in festive opening hours across facilities.

Again, these reductions will affect only times when facilities are least used. A range of activities will be available for customers, who will receive further information at the start of December.

Tim Dent, chief executive of West Lothian Leisure said: “A lack of funding has reduced outdoor education provision across Scotland, unfortunately resulting in some local authorities being forced to close facilities completely.

“However, we are committed to providing outdoor activities in West Lothian, and by switching to daytime only at Low Port, we plan to turn a loss-making venue into an exciting, thriving centre where children and adults alike can experience the joy of the outdoors.

“This stage marks the completion of West Lothian Leisure’s restructuring programme, throughout which we have tried to make savings as far as possible through voluntary redundancy or voluntary early retirement, and by amending opening hours at the quietest times.

“We now move forward leaner, but 100 per cent committed to delivering a modern service that is accessible, sustainable and fit for the future.

“Alongside the fantastic range of activities we already offer, new initiatives and services yet to be unveiled across our facilities will ensure that there is always something for everyone at West Lothian Leisure.”

The restructure is part of a three-year business strategy which was developed to respond to a combination of external factors, including increasing employment and operational costs together with significant cuts to funding.

The first two rounds of changes (which were implemented in September and October) related to Xcite leisure facilities and community facilities.

Both comprised a mix of voluntary early retirements and redundancies alongside altered opening times to contribute to savings of £2.6 million by 2022.

In 2017, services and facilities were transferred to West Lothian Leisure from West Lothian Council – including Low Port Outdoor Education Centre and the sport and cultural facilities at eight West Lothian high schools.