During a time of continued growth and success for Scottish basketball, basketballscotland are concerned to learn of price increases of over 150% for access to Menzieshill Community Centre in Dundee. We believe that these changes will have a detrimental impact on Dundee Madsons Basketball Club’s ability to deliver inclusive and affordable basketball programmes for the local community.
Dundee Madsons has, over the past 4 years, grown significantly to the point where they are engaging with over 650 young people. The focus of their community programmes is on providing opportunities for young people from deprived areas and Menziehill Community Centre has long provided a home for these programmes.
Presently, facility costs are managed by the centre’s management group, who offer affordable leisure prices to residents in the surrounding economically disadvantaged area.
However, new cost are set to be introduced in October this year, following the opening of a new centre. Dundee City Council have decided that the new sports hall will be operated by Leisure & Culture Dundee rather than the Management Group.
The change in management to Leisure & Culture Dundee regulations and charges will see costs of hall hire for Dundee Madsons’ youth programmes rise by over 150%, from £13.50 to £34 per hour.
Given that these price increases will have a negative impact on the delivery of basketball programmes, at a time where our sport is having a real impact in the community, basketballscotland are actively supporting both Dundee Madsons and the Menziehill Community Management Group in their campaign for access to the facilities at a fair price.
Price increases of this level will force Dundee Madsons, and other users, to pass charges on to young people in the local community. We are proud of the fact that young people from all different backgrounds, both male and female, turn to our sport for a sense of belonging, purpose and to grow as people, both physically and mentally. The new pricing policy will put access to basketball beyond the means of some people who need it most. There is little doubt that this will lead to decreasing membership numbers at Dundee Madsons, an issue which can have a significant impact on the long-term sustainability of the club.
basketballscotland have consulted with other national governing bodies regarding this issue and realise that these concerns are part of a wider conversation which needs to be started regarding access to indoor sports. We would welcome a discussion with Dundee Council and Leisure & Culture Dundee to establish a way forward that allows volunteer-led clubs to deliver opportunities in the community, while at the same time respecting the need for both Dundee Council and Leisure & Culture Dundee to manage their finances.
Our staff will continue to work with Dundee Madsons, and the Community Centre management group, to ensure a positive outcome is achieved for all involved. We recognise it is our responsibility to be vocal and proactive in supporting clubs during these tough times.
Last year we successfully supported member clubs challenging price rises across Edinburgh City Council, we will continue to publicly voice the concerns of our members when required, especially where the impact on people and communities becomes secondary in let pricing decisions.
Kevin Pringle, CEO basketballscotland