A REDUCTION in council funding has been partly blamed for some “incredibly difficult” decisions within enjoyleisure leisure centres.

The charity, which runs sports centres, swimming pools, sports pitches and two golf courses across East Lothian revealed it would be revising its services following a cut in funding.

Anyone now signing up to its pay-monthly fitness membership packages faces a one-off joining fee of £15.

Meanwhile, the soft play facilities at the centres will remain open but will become self-supervised facilities and an increase to standard admission charges across the organisation, which will be in the region of 3.5 per cent, will also be introduced.

Bill Axon, general manager at enjoyleisure, stressed it was a decision that was “not without regret” and offered his “sincerest and utmost apologies”.

He said: “Having met with the staff involved to explain the position, their commitment, loyalty and dedication remains unquestionable and they have every reason to be proud of the quality of the service provided.

“However, these tough decisions have become necessary, along with other management and operational adjustments, to safeguard the longevity of the organisation as a whole.”

As a charity, all admission and membership income is reinvested back into the organisation, which employs more than 350 people, to improve the delivery of its services.

The organisation additionally receives an annual contract payment from East Lothian Council for the management of facilities on the council’s behalf.

Since its creation in 2009, enjoyleisure, which welcomes about one million visitors per year, has faced substantial reductions in its annual contract payment and has again this year.

However, through the expansion and enhanced delivery of services, including increasing its customer base, membership schemes and learn to swim programme, enjoy says it has been able to offset these reductions while also enhancing services.

Now it faces its most challenging financial year to date.

Having already faced a council contract reduction of £150,000 in 2018/19, the charity is now being confronted with many substantial increases, including energy costs of over £100,000 per year; notable external supplier increases; and a further £100,000 reduction from its council contract payment for 2019/2020.

As a result, enjoy has had to re-evaluate its current financial and operational position in order to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the whole organisation.

Mr Axon said: “I fully appreciate the difficulties regarding ongoing current public service financing; nonetheless, since 2009, enjoy has been able to overcome reductions in council funding and uncontrollable additional costs through significantly increasing our income year-on-year.

“However, we are now facing a number of further financial pressures which are outwith our control.

“While our income has increased, this is not at a level to alleviate the substantial pressures of council funding decreases and rising business costs.

“Regrettably, this means we have been forced to make some incredibly difficult decisions in order to safeguard the business for the future, which will preserve core services, facilities and jobs.”