A LEISURE trust which is responsible for running services in Blaenau Gwent is set to be up and running by June.

Members of Blaenau Gwent’s executive committee yesterday gave the go-ahead to a business case to establish the trust, as the council continues to look at ways to save cash.

The council is proposing to establish a leisure trust to operate the leisure, cultural and community learning facilities and services.

It says the trust is an important part of the savings plans for 2014/15 onward and is vital for the continued investment in and delivery of leisure services.

The new organisation, called Life Leisure Trust, will cover sports centres, sports development, libraries, community education centres, Parc Bryn Bach, Bedwellty House and Park, arts and cultural venues and heritage.

Executive members heard three public consultation meetings took place last week. They were presented with an appendix showing the range of views expressed during the public engagement sessions, and were told that the public recognised the council was in financial difficulties.

Cllr Anita Hobbs said: “Some attendees had strong views, however the council response that a trust would have a limited impact on services was acknowledged.”

“Importantly, it’s clear stakeholders care passionately about leisure services and there is now a understanding and acceptance that the alternate service delivery offers a sustainable approach to delivering leisure devices.”

The report said leisure services contributed more than £960,000 revenue savings to the council’s downsizing strategy between 2010/2011 to 2013/2014. The savings target for 2014/2015 is approaching £1.5 million, including the much-contested closure of Nantyglo Sports Centre.

Saying that if the council continued running leisure it would face even more cuts, deputy council leader Steve Thomas said: “While it’s right and noble to try and do everything for everyone, sometimes you need to use your head not your heart.”

The executive approved the recommendations that they endorse the business case to establish a non-profit distributing organisation for leisure services and that the leisure trust is established by June 1.

l Newport council’s cabinet is due to make a decision on whether it will transfer its leisure services into a trust this Monday. The meeting will be asked allow senior officers to develop a business case for and establish the not-for-profit body.

It will also consider a report from a scrutiny committee, which had backed the trust idea provided the living wage applied to staff affected.