Sports clubs in Carmarthenshire 'must control own destiny'

CARMARTHENSHIRE county council chiefs are urging more sports clubs and organisations to take charge of their futures "as most already do in the county".

They say meetings have been held over the last year throughout the county to explain to the sporting fraternity that there is a great imbalance in the county where 70 clubs or organisations are already maintaining their own facilities.

Fewer than 60 have their facilities maintained by the authority but at a subsidy of more than a quarter of a million pounds.

Currently the council subsidises some clubs to the tune of £264,000 per annum with costs of about £341,000 being offset by an income of only £77,000.

The three-year sports facilities realignment programme will ensure than all sporting organisations across the county are treated equally helping to wipe out this council deficit.

Council leader Cllr Kevin Madge said: “Our aim is to provide a level and stable playing field for the continued health and growth of all sporting organisations.

“There has been an unfair imbalance on how some areas and clubs are treated and the council has had to review its charges to accurately reflect costs.

“It is a phased period and support will continue to assist clubs and groups access considerable grant support that is not available to the council.”

The fees for 2013-14 have been addressed with regard to average fees set by other authorities engaged in the work.

“As a result, the costs for junior football and rugby pitches has increased from £9 for 2013-14 to £13.50 for 2014-15 which is still well below that set by other authorities of around £16.

Similarly for junior cricket the fee has been increased from £7 in 3013-14 to £14 for 2014-15 which has been the average for other authorities for 2013-14.

Many organisations have already engaged in discussions regarding the potential benefits of taking over the maintenance of facilities themselves.

Meetings have taken place with 17 football and rugby clubs on seven sites and the council will be seeking to meet all sporting organisations to move the agenda forward in a positive partnership approach.

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