Maybole Pathfinder Working Group
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Left to right: Gus Collins and Roddy MacDonald, South Ayrshire Council, Alan Murray, May-Tag Ltd, Alex Kelly, Maybole Community Council, Councillor Brian Connolly, Sarah Baird, Leader, Ian Hughes, Creation Ltd

Local organisations met in Maybole Town Hall on Monday March 22 2010 to hear the results of the local consultation on the Pathfinder project. Creation Ltd were commissioned to carry out a feasibility study into the potential for transferring sport, leisure and social facilities from South Ayrshire Council to being managed by the community.

The project is being part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Ayrshire Leader 2007-2013 programme. Funding was provided by the Council and Ian Hughes, Managing Director of Creation Ltd attended the meeting to present his interim report. David Kiltie, chairman of May-Tag Ltd who are the lead body, introduced him and recounted the various stages to reach this point.

Assets discussed included Maybole Town Hall; Maybole Swimming Pool; all football and rugby pitches at Carrick Academy (including the all-weather pitches; Maybole 9 hole golf course and clubhouse; Maybole Memorial Park bowling green and clubhouse; football pitches and changing facility at Glebe Park; Ladywell Stadium; and the local skate board park.

Thirty face to face meetings with key community stakeholders and representatives from South Ayrshire Council were carried out and those consulted were asked to provide information about usage, financial performance, and the condition of the assets. Creation also asked for opinions on the concept of asset transfer; any reservations they may have; should a further stage 2 process proceed; what further consultation was required; and their opinion about any future organisational structure.

Mr Hughes said that 95% thought community asset ownership and management would be a positive move. In relation to reservations, the strongest reservation (90%) related to financial viability. There was strong opinion that any community company which may evolve from this process would require significant assistance in its early years in terms of financial support and organisational capacity and capability training. In relation to the need for a Stage 2 study, there was 95% consensus that this should proceed, with a clear emphasis on answering many of the issues which have been raised to date.

In terms of further consultation, there was a strong feeling amongst some 75% of those interviewed that a ‘full town’ consultation should be designed and rolled out as part of any Stage 2 process. He added that 90% of those who expressed an opinion would wish to see a democratically elected and representative community company which had community representation as a majority, as opposed to Council/external majority ownership.

The majority of those who expressed an opinion stated that any future organisation would need to have a strong business focus in order to add value to the assets; access investment; develop a co-ordinated marketing strategy to increase usage; and decrease the existing income and expenditure revenue gap. There was a strong feeling amongst those interviewed, who expressed an opinion, that moving all assets from the Council immediately into a new governing Trust would be the wrong approach.

Instead, there was strong opinion that any new asset company should concentrate on development; guidance; accessing investment; and strategic direction. If assets had to be transferred at all, they should move to the individual community groups themselves so long as there was clear viability proven and the individual community groups wished this.There was a realisation, however, that where the new Trust was the only viable option in terms of title ownership or leasing of assets, this would be acceptable and appropriate.

Individual community groups wanted to keep their independence although none of those interviewed were against being represented on a new sports body, so long as their existing roles were not diluted. There was strong opinion that any new governing body should add value to their existing operations through support and guidance, as well as co-ordinating marketing and accessing inward capital and revenue finance.

A common statement made was that stakeholders need to be realistic in terms of time scales and expectations. It was stated often that this should be seen as a long term process, phased over five year intervals, with key targets and milestones identified.Organisations were given details of the condition as well as income and expenditure for the assets being looked at and will now go back to their members to discuss these before the next meeting which will be held on Monday April 26 in the Town Hall.



There were discussions last year with community stakeholders in Maybole relating to future management and delivery of leisure services in the area and a proposal paper was produced and submitted to the council in August 2008.


Following a public meeting a working group was set up which involved the Community Council, the Community Association and other key players in the leisure and recreation field.


On 21st January 2009 the Head of Service for Community Development in South Ayrshire Council presented a paper to the Council’s Leadership Panel advising members that officers were now engaging with key stakeholders to seek agreement on a model of delivery which would ensure better use of resources and provide a ‘pathfinder’ model for more localised service delivery.


Following council approval to proceed, the Head of Service of Community Development met with the local working group where it was agreed to pursue a LEADER application for resources to permit an options appraisal and initial feasibility study to be undertaken.


As part of the initial proposal to the Council, the local working group identified the following assets which could be in the scope of this exercise:


•        Maybole Town Hall

•        Maybole Swimming Pool

•        All football and rugby pitches at Carrick Academy (including all weather pitches)

•        Maybole 9 hole Golf Course and clubhouse

•        Maybole Memorial Park Bowling Green and clubhouse

•        Football pitches and changing facility at Glebe Park

•        Ladywell Stadium

•        Skate Board Park.


Aims of the Project:

•        Prepare a study document which identifies the feasibility of transferring community assets, and addresses priorities for the community.

•        This will include an audit of current activity in relation to leisure and recreation services.

•        Identify the options for asset transfer with an indication of different possible scenarios and staged approaches to asset transfer.

•        Identify outline revenue projections.

•        Produce a plan to consult with key users of these resources including young people.

•        Supply an initial outline costing for any further investigations required including technical expertise, and ongoing maintenance. This may range from basic analysis of existing information through to highlighting the need for more technical assessments of plant and equipment. Some aspects of this could be linked to environmental best value analysis.

•        Identify potential funding sources.

•        Highlight potential environmental approaches and use of renewable energies, ensuring opportunities to achieve sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings, with lower cost heating. By suggesting ways in which the carbon footprint of buildings can be reduced the project may be better placed to work alongside the Energy Agency and attract appropriate funding such as the Climate Challenge funding. In so doing the project would be satisfying the sustainability element of the LEADER programme.


Project activities:

The consultant will meet and consult very closely with MAYTAG and the Maybole Pathfinder Working Group.


Devise a consultation plan in line with key stakeholder groups and target groups for LEADER funding. The LEADER Programme has highlighted women and young people as two groups who require specific targeting. Additional groups could include micro businesses (employing fewer than 10 people) and small businesses (employing fewer than 50 people). People who are under-employed and people with disabilities are also targeted.  Extra target groups relevant to the individual Local Action Group can be entered under ‘Other’.  We will be required to estimate how many people, within the groups listed, the project will assist.


Potential barriers to community access and participation in the project include maintaining  good contact with the community at all ‘ages and stages’ and groups in the community-this is challenging and requires good co-ordination and multi-agency co-operation.


The implementation of a consultation plan will lead to the creation of an up to date database of names to keep informed in the ongoing development of the project beyond the feasibility stage.


There will be regular communication as the project progresses with the project being integrated with existing projects and groups to become part of the calendar of town activities.


Key milestones

A report highlighting potential savings and added value achievable through community management.


A report on models for local delivery through community structures, including a projection of main technical issues which may be subject to further study


A brief report on sustainability which will highlight potential benefits of energy efficient approaches which would achieve longer term cost reductions.


There would be a more “joined up” approach to the community use of these facilities under a local CLT and greater community and commercial benefit achieved with increased access and use.


There is a potential to replicate this approach in other rural areas in Ayrshire where local communities step forward with an interest in managing resources and diversifying their use in line with locally agreed strategies for community capacity building and local economic development.


The project will support the development of local social enterprises which will take on the management and development of key local facilities. In doing this the local community will be better placed to respond to opportunities for growth in sectors like tourism.


At a community level this project seeks to engage with the whole community through a multi-level consultation process to determine what people want to see done with the identified assets.


In so doing it will be possible to illustrate to people that their combined actions will link with the efforts of other groups to achieve common goals- thus achieving greater social cohesion.


Inter-generational approaches will be key to the later stages of this project in responding to the identified needs of different generations of local residents.


At a local authority level the project seeks to develop and imbed new and more effective channels of communication between the community the local authority and other community planning partners and other relevant stakeholders such as Sports Scotland.


A key part of this initial study is to identify longer term benefits of incorporating energy saving approaches into the management and maintenance of community assets.


The project will seek to work alongside key partners such as the Energy Agency to fully maximise the benefits of this approach.


By working towards a range of community run assets the project will also seek to cut down on road mile carbon emissions by encouraging greater use of local resources.