Argyll and Bute Council and Lochgilphead Community Centre have successfully worked together to draw up plans for the modernisation of the facility’s management.
The discussions began after a review of the council’s catering, cleaning and janitorial service early last year suggested making a saving of £194,000 across Argyll and Bute through the removal of steward and cleaning services in community services.
The implementation of this proposed saving was delayed until April 1 2012 in recognition of the issues to be resolved before it could be realised, and the need for consultation with staff so that redeployment opportunities could be explored.
The delay also provided time to explore means of mitigating the impact of the removal of the service, and to get clarity on the need to have a responsible person present at all times when the centres are open.
Councillor Donnie MacMillan, chair of the Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands area committee and a member of the Lochgilphead Community Centre council, said he was extremely impressed by how the community centre management took up the challenge.
“The centre council took the very positive step of setting up a working group to help identify means of mitigating the impact of the service withdrawal, and this has proven a key factor in being able to find a way forward which suits all parties,” he added.
“The council and community centre teams have worked in close partnership to minimise the impact on those who use the facility, and I am delighted that this position has now been achieved.
“The positive engagement between the two organisations has been a great example of what can be achieved even in the current challenging climate, and I congratulate all those involved. They have been a credit to their community, and their efforts have led to plans which will ensure that the hundreds of people who currently use Lochgilphead Community Centre will be able to continue to do so.”
In the case of Lochgilphead, the working group explored the list of janitorial duties and tasks it considered essential in order for its user groups to continue using the facility.
This resulted in a proposal for the creation of a janitor/cleaner post to carry out a combination of cleaning duties and a reduced number of janitorial duties, replacing the separate centre supervisors and cleaners currently in operation.
If approved, the preferred option will deliver a saving of approximately half what was originally envisaged.