Should take on board comments

I AM writing to your paper as a concerned partner of North Somerset Council. I manage Bristol Ice Rink and have links with North Somerset Council

I AM writing to your paper as a concerned partner of North Somerset Council. I manage Bristol Ice Rink and have links with North Somerset Council via the sports development team, specifically the Young Persons Key initiative (YPK scheme). The rink has supported this initiative from the start and has literally had thousands of children aged between 11 and 19 years skating over the last few years from all over North Somerset. There are excellent benefits I feel the sports development team produce. These include in particular an increase in fitness levels which has the obvious effect of reducing health care costs both long and short term, social inclusion and also a reduction in antisocial behaviour, all of which I feel are building blocks for safer communities, personal development and success in life. One of the nine key areas North Somerset Council is said to be focusing on over the next four years is making streets and communities safer. I find it confusing that the council is planning to reduce the sports development team by two employees and associated services with the aim of saving £65,000. Surely the council should take on board comments made by the scrutiny panel who do not support these reductions and look at the wider issues such as an increase in costs for the PCT and Community Safety Partnership.I can only assume that the proposed reduction in funding and the loss of sports development officers will have a negative effect on certain functions that the sports development department provides. For example the YPK scheme has a membership of over 6,500 11-19-year-olds that all live in North Somerset. This scheme helps provide affordable access via discount packages for sporting, social and leisure activities through partnerships with companies like the ice rink who are external to the council and at no direct cost to the council. The potential consequences of such schemes being closed are massive, not only to the pockets of its members but to society as a whole.EDDIE PEARSON - General manager, Bristol Ice Rink


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