A STRUGGLING registered charity which operates more than 60 cultural and sporting venues on behalf of Scottish Borders Council (SBC) is in line for a £550,000 bail out, it has emerged.

When members of the full council meet next week they will be told that Live Borders, which was established in April 2016, is struggling financially in the face of several challenges.

The organisation – which operates libraries, swimming pools, arts centres, museums and galleries and various leisure facilities – needs financial support of £550,000 to maintain current services.

Without that injection of cash current services may need to be reduced, councillors are to be informed.

The proposed funding would be taken from SBC’s recovery fund.

A report sets out the challenging financial pressures that face Live Borders as a result of the recent extraordinary rise in energy costs, reduced footfall and associated income reductions as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and the protracted recovery from the pandemic.

Within the current financial year, money pressures have had a significant impact on the operating models of all three leisure trusts in the Borders – including Berwickshire Recreation Educational Sports Trust (BREST) and Jedburgh Leisure Facilities Trust (JLFT), which operate the single sites of Duns Swimming Pool and the Jedburgh swimming pool respectively.

At the December and January full council meetings one-off financial assistance of £127,000 each for BREST and JLFT was agreed in recognition of these pressures and the need to modernise.

Jeni Craig, the council’s director of resilient communities, said: “Without undertaking the proposed review of current arrangements, and finding new and sustainable models of service delivery, there is a risk that provision of services will need to be reduced.

“There is a risk that, without additional financial assistance over the next financial year – while the review is progressed – actions will need to be taken to reduce operating costs. As a consequence, the provision of services (for example, hours of opening) may need to be reduced during the course of the review.”