Live Life Aberdeenshire’s performance was in the spotlight from counsel at the most recent meeting of the Communities Committee.
The committee heard client activity and service delivery at Live Life Aberdeenshire (LLA) from April to December last year.
The Committee was informed that customer use of the PressReader electronic platform to access newspapers and magazines had increased significantly and demonstrated the changing manner in which customers access library services.
The “Click & Collect” book-lending service has also proven popular.
Paid memberships for the LLA have increased over the period, although they are still below pre-Covid-19 levels.
The pressure on budgets due to bonus payments, overtime costs and increased energy charges has been highlighted.
There was praise for ‘Seafit’, a joint UK-wide initiative run by Fishermen’s Mission and the Seamen’s Hospital Association.
The program is scheduled to continue over the next three years.
Cllr Alison Evison called for more information to support closer examination, particularly about underrepresented groups and geographic trends.
In response, Head of Communities, Wellbeing and Partnership, Avril Nicol, said the service was looking forward to developing a good balance of financial and non-information matters for councilors to consider.
Questions were also raised about music services, the work of the Youth Music Initiative and the public exhibition of the Abbey Historical Book in Aberdeen.
It was agreed to prepare a briefing note on the deer book for the committee.
In a separate report, the panel was told of the work being done to develop the LLA Climate Action Plan, including a number of approaches that are being taken to help reduce carbon emissions within the service.
A revised fee policy for services provided by Live Life Aberdeenshire has also been approved.
The committee has been told the policy covers inflationary increases for 2023/24 and will also update all fees in line with education and children’s services.
A member working group has reportedly been working to look at membership schemes and some aspects of pricing, with new membership plans expected later this year.
The Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee had previously considered a related report.
Recognizing the potential impact of fee hikes, the increases will be offset by a range of targeted upgrades, councilors have been told.
Other incentives include free use of the facilities for Live Life Essentials members, as well as a study holiday deal at the end of March to allow 14-18 year olds to access LLA activities while preparing for exams to support their mental and physical health at a reduced cost.
Promotions will also include an Easter break deal for children aged eight to 17, while a Valentine’s Day deal of over 12 sessions for £12 has been used by just under 1,500 people.
The committee noted the situation with regard to the ongoing shared rates and rent review across Education and Child Services and agreed to revise the majority of LLA fees at 5.9 per cent effective April 1 of this year.
It was also agreed to align all room reservations and rental fees within education services as they currently differ, which in some cases will lead to increases of up to 9.3 percent.
In a separate report, Board members agreed to adopt the LLA Action Plan for 2023-28, along with the actions in the plan for the coming year. Quarterly performance reports will be presented to the committee for consideration.
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