The boss of KA:Leisure has said they are the best performing leisure trust in Scotland ... and one of the top organisations of their kind in the UK.

Malcolm McPhail, who heads North Ayrshire's leisure facilities, addressed a recent meeting of the North Ayrshire Council Cabinet.

The chief executive officer said:  “We are still in a growth stage of development of KA Leisure year-on-year to period nine. We are nearly £500,000 better off income-wise even though we were working through a difficult phase with the cost of living and energy crisis.

“The programme is excellent, the customer service is improving and we have declined the urge to put our prices up as we don’t think that is the right thing to do as we are still in the growth stage, despite the cost of living and energy crisis. 

“We are through the Covid recovery phase and are the best performing financial leisure trust since covid hit us, certainly in Scotland and potentially in the UK and this is highlighted within the membership development.

“We have gone from having 3,884 members to just over 9,500 memberships.

“We had more than 1.1 million touch points last year and that tells you the bandwidth of the organisation. We welcomed 1,126,555 visitors across 2023 which was an increase of 10 per cent  in comparison to 2022.

“This is a testament to the quality of our venues and dedicated staff teams. Despite the increased price of energy, and growing cost of supplies, services and staffing, we are committed to ensuring affordable access, with most of our prices remaining below the national average.”

Laura Barrie, head of active communities, told the cabinet that KA Leisure were establishing a North Health and Wellbeing Alliance which was launched last June and they held an event in March to showcase their vision on wellbeing.

Council leader Marie Burns said she was impressed at the performance of KA Leisure.

She said: “We always get a really good report from KA Leisure and it’s always interesting and we do share the importance of that wellbeing agenda and one of the things that does bring it home is that you always show that personal touch of people by showing people whose lives have been affected, whole life has been affected.

“I congratulate you on  your achievement since the pandemic. Those figures are excellent, the increase in gym membership and the increase in income.

Cllr Christina Larsen added: “It was fantastic to see not only the impact it has on the person themselves who has taken out the membership in terms of improving their fitness levels and tackling isolation and making new friends and how that spills out with the Portal and Auchenharvie but also the impact it has on their wider families and the difference it makes on their children’s lives.”