Annual Report 2016

Leisure & Culture Dundee Annual Report 2015/16


Bob Duncan

Reflecting on another positive year of growth and development for Leisure & Culture Dundee.

The Board were delighted when it was announced in the Queen's New Year's Honours, that Sinclair Aitken, Independent Trustee and Vice Chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee, was to receive an OBE for services to the Cultural Sector in City. Sinclair's contribution to Leisure & Culture Dundee has been very significant and this recognition is thoroughly well deserved.

I was delighted to attend the re-opening of Lochee ‘Baths', following redevelopment. This former Victorian pool and bath house has been completely redeveloped in a way which retains its original character but which introduces first class new facilities. Leisure & Culture Dundee, through generated income, complemented the refurbishment with the new sauna and steam room. Public reaction has been fantastic.

I was personally delighted that we were able to raise sufficient funds to purchase the former DP&L ship models, ensuring that they will be properly restored and cared for as part of the city's collection, and will be on display, in The McManus in 2017.

Another highlight was Dundee's first Design Festival where the UNESCO City of Design team worked closely with DC Thomson to prepare for the four day event in May 2016 at West Ward print works (leased to Leisure & Culture Dundee). This was the first major event organised under the auspices of the UNESCO City of Design banner, and delegates were welcomed from other UNESCO cities to Scotland.

Our social purposes are strongly reflected in our targeted work with a wide range of individuals and groups. Our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Care continues to develop and we greatly appreciate their support.

In total 3,023,411 people visited facilities operated by Leisure & Culture Dundee in 2015/2016.

It is a challenging environment in which we operate. Every pound has to be made to work hard, and I am very proud of what Leisure & Culture Dundee has achieved over the last five years. We have delivered excellent value for our citizens, and for visitors to the city.

Robert Duncan (Chairman) 1 July 2011
Brian Gordon 1 July 2011
Stewart Hunter 1 July 2011
Stewart Murdoch (Managing Director) 1 July 2011
Marjory Stewart (Finance Director) 1 July 2011
Sinclair Aitken OBE (Vice Chairman) 1 August 2011
Alice Bovill 1 August 2011
Alan Rae 1 August 2011
Richard McCready 29 May 2012
Ian Mathers 28 October 2013
Laura Mason 28 October 2013
Gillian Easson 7 November 2014
Moira Methven 7 November 2015
Senior Management Team
Stewart Murdoch Managing Director
Judy Dobbie Head of Library and Information Services
Billy Gartley Head of Cultural Services
Graham Wark Head of Leisure and Sport Services

Cultural Services Highlights


Records were broken when for the first time in history a solo performer staged five consecutive sell-out shows. Kevin Bridges' shows attracted an audience of over 10,000.

The International Society of Addiction Medicine Congress brought 619 international delegates from 56 countries for 5 days to the city generating in excess of £1 million for the local economy.

Roman Empire: Power and People, an exhibition in partnership with The British Museum ended in May 2015 and attracted over 55,000 visitors.

Our Natural Science section was successful in gaining a major Strategic Investment Fund Grant through Museums Galleries Scotland, to create an 18 month post, to fully document the Robertson Moth Collections working in partnership with Dundee University.

External funding received from Museums Galleries Scotland and Dundee Festival Trust, enabled the delivery of additional public engagement through Festival of Museums and ‘First Foot' at McManus, our first New Year Event.


Jeepers Creepers: Works by Eduardo Paolozzi from Dundee collections provided the opportunity to display two of the city's major works. These works were augmented by prints from the City of Dundee and the University of Dundee's collections, a rare opportunity to see all Paolozzi's works from Dundee collections in one display.

Draw the Line: Old Masters to The Beano after highlighting the enduring influence of classicism in Classical Art: The Legacy of the Ancients, our annual display in the Twentieth century gallery focussed on our huge and formerly little seen collection of drawings

This year's Festival of Museums theme ‘Shackleton to the Suffragettes, Dundee 1901 – 1919' explored what life was really like in Dundee in the early 1900s.

The museum's Oral History Archive, delivered a regular programme of ‘Talking Dundee' activities and events provides a living history of the city by capturing the memories and life experiences of the people who live, work and play in Dundee.

The 13th Annual MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards showcasing and celebrating Scottish traditional music to folk fans across Scotland was hosted early December. Known as the ‘Folk Oscars', the event was screened live on BBC Alba, featuring leading Scottish musicians and singers.

Soundbase Byte in April and October and Soundbase Summer Slam music workshops in July for 12 – 18 year olds once again proved hugely successful, with over 100 parents and friends attending the gig in the Marryat Hall.

Music Development partnered with Tayside Health Arts Trust to stage Musicality Workshops for those with COPD, with eight sessions held at the Wighton Centre between May and June, culminating in a performance to invited guests.


One of the most intriguing gifts to the fine art collection was from illustrator Ron Stenberg. Now in his 90s and back in his homeland of New Zealand, he had a long career at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and wondered if we might consider the gift of a work that he considered his masterpiece - ‘Two Auld Wifies, Dundee'

The acquisition of 8 ship models and associated archive from the Dundee, Perth and London Shipping Company (DP&L) was made possible by the generosity of a number of individuals, organisations and charities throughout the city. We work towards conserving the models and displaying them in 2017

In recognition of Dundee's role in the history of Antarctic exploration, the city is privileged to have been presented with a suite of paintings which Frances Walker considers to be the finest of her career. The Antarctic Suite is the most significant gift by an artist to Dundee's permanent collection for over 25 years.

We are grateful to Outset Scotland who presented The Foxes by Corin Sworn to the city's nationally significant fine art collection. The piece was commissioned and shown as part of Scotland + Venice in 2013.

To enhance the city's collection of fine art photography, two outsize photographs were purchased from Ron O'Donnell – Referendum Work and No Articles Beyond this Point.


A Civic Reception was held in October to celebrate 80 Years of Stargazing at Mills Observatory. Designed by City Architect Mr McLellan Brown in collaboration with Professor Ralph Sampson, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Mills is the first British observatory to have been built with the sole aim of encouraging public understanding of science.

A giant timeline display was installed on the first floor, charting the history of the Observatory and the dome was given a ‘new look' by installing a vinyl floor display to promote the 80th Anniversary year.

The event launched the start of a new planetarium experience at Mills, made possible through our partnership with the University of Dundee, with a strategic grant from the Wellcome Trust.


Cultural services total attendances for the year
The Caird Hall total attendances for the year, an increase of 11% on the previous year
Roman Empire: Power and People, an exhibition in partnership with The British Museum saw over 55,000 visitors attend The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum
Creative Learning figures saw a 23% increase with 19,793 children, young people and adults participated in 770 Learning & Engagement activities, delivered at McManus, McManus Collection Unit, Mills Observatory, Broughty Castle Museum and The Old Steeple

Leisure and Sport Highlights


Olympia’s performance continues to set the pace across Leisure and Culture Dundee. There were almost 500,000 customers taking part in their favoured activities at the East Whale Lane facility.

With a total of 16,705 dance attendances in 2015/16 it is clear LACD has Dundee moving. The highly anticipated dance shows saw over 600 dancers take to the stage resulting in 3 fantastic sell out nights at the Gardyne Theatre.

2015 was a challenging year in many respects for the golf service. Attendance continues to decline in line with the national trends for 18 hole courses. There are positives, however the 9 hole course at Caird Park continues to attract increasing numbers; over 35% up on last year’s attendance figures. The ladies 9 hole club is also doing well.

The holiday activities in 2015 were once again hugely popular. These are inclusive for children from 4 months to 18 years of age. Camps are delivered across LACD facilities and there were many options including; multi-activity camps, dance, gymnastics, football, trampoline, aquatics, early years, athletics, junior golf, an ice camp and a wildlife camp. There were some 10,000 attendances this summer.

During the year there were 10,134 participants in the national Learn to Skate programme which offers a pathway into the major skating activities.

Dundee City Square was transformed into a multi-sport arena on Friday 7 August 2015 with fun activities on offer for all the family, including hockey, football, tennis, golf, athletics, early years activities and dance were all offered free of charge and attracted well over 1,000 participants throughout the day.

McTaggart has a full programme operating within the centre, resulting in an increase in footfall of over 30%. The Leisure and Culture Dundee gymnastics and trampoline coaching programme, designed to provide opportunities for pre-school and primary age children to try gymnastics and feed into the club pathway, has grown through both term-time and holiday programmes.

Football has had another successful year with over 360 youngsters participating at DISC during the March to November season and winter indoor 6 week programme. 2015 also saw the introduction of the Super 5’s pathway and transition to 7’s club support programme.


A new GP referral exercise programme was introduced in December 2015: Active for Life, targeted for people with long term medical conditions. In the four months since its beginning, there were 384 referrals. This is 50% more than the previous version of the programme.

The beginning of March 2016 saw the arrival of a pair of European Wolves inhabiting an enclosure that had been empty since the sad demise of the two old wolves earlier in the year. These wolves have proved extremely popular and it hasn’t taken them long to feel comfortable in their Camperdown surroundings.

Lochee Swim & Sports Centre has had a major refurbishment during 2015/16. The centre was closed for the majority of the year and has undergone significant structural changes, including the construction of family friendly changing rooms as well as upgrading of the main entrance, reception, foyer, toilets and the disability changing facilities. Another newly designed area is the health suite with a contemporary sauna and steam room. The renovation cost was over £1 million. All adult fitness classes and swimming lessons resumed on 14 March and there has been an impressive 4,000 customers through the doors in the 2 week period to 31 March.

Flume enhancements were completed in 2015 and helped to keep the fun and thrill factor at Olympia. The pool has state-of-the-art music and lighting effects installed in the Red Flume and the new holographic images on the Green Flume that can be changed keeps the experience lively, exciting and fresh.

The Leisure and Sport Service leads on Dundee’s Growth Mindset Programme. This mindset approach allows young people (and adults alike) to be more open to challenges, see mistakes as part of the learning process and understand that talents and abilities are not fixed but can be developed through hard work. The programme is focused on young people and involves school and community practitioners as well as parents.


Seven of the top 10 UK Ladies Figure Skaters now train out of Dundee Ice Arena with Danielle Harrison the reigning UK Champion. Danielle was also voted young sportsperson of the year at the Dundee Sports Awards.

Dundee Junior Curling Club is now competing in national competitions and the under 14 team took 2nd place in the National Slam event.

Through live streaming of Dundee Stars Ice Hockey games to North America and Europe there is a recognition that the City is home to a team competing in the top UK hockey league. Junior Hockey is buoyant with club members currently representing both Scotland and Great Britain.

Olympia has been the early morning 50m training venue for Olympic hopeful Stephen Milne. Stephen not only hopes to make the GB team for the Rio Olympics, he also hopes to medal once there.

Throughout the year, LACD has supported around 100 athletes with the potential to excel in sports through a range of weekly programmes and initiatives, including the U12 and U14 Hockey Potential Squads, U12 and U14 Basketball development Squads, free access to early morning training within the McTaggart Gymnastics Centre for a group of elite gymnasts, football skills centre and development squads.


Leisure and Sport delivered a number of high profile events in 2015/16:

Dreamnight at the Wildlife Centre attracted 950 children, parents and carers.

Dundee’s Sports Awards drew a record number of nominations and the largest attendance in its history. Local sports people were duly recognised in one of the city’s most prestigious events.

The Winter Wild Lights was successfully integrated into the Christmas Santa event at Camperdown Wildlife Centre. Over 2,000 people attended and we received super visitor feedback, which was particularly positive through social media.

The European Ladies Indoor Hockey Championship took place at DISC in February to great acclaim from all those involved, including the European Governing Body.

March saw the BBC host it’s Active Academy at DISC, part of its Get Inspired initiative. Schools from all over Scotland attended and the BBC covered the lead up to, and the event itself on all its platforms.

The Rotary Club’s Swimarathon at Olympia gets bigger and better every year; this year raising over £30,000 for charity.

We also provided the venue for a range of local, national and international events, including the brand new Nerf Wars, which attracted 115 young people and 110 spectators to the Douglas Sports Centre, and the Family Fun sessions at McTaggart Regional Gymnastics Centre which prove very successful.

External Funding

In October 2015, Leisure and Culture Dundee started its partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to deliver Move More Dundee, an exercise referral programme for people living with and beyond cancer. The programme provides physical and emotional support and helps increase resilience for the participants.

Creative Scotland funded a new dance event for the city in October 2015, which was organised by LACD in partnership with Scottish Dance Theatre. ‘Hip Hop Vibe’ saw dance workshops delivered in various street dance styles for young people in the city.

Fundraising was sought to help support our work with ‘early years’ children through play. £30k was received to provide ‘Play Rangers’. In partnership with Aberlour, LACD has been working to deliver a play ranger programme in the city. Playrangers offer free play opportunities in local green spaces, making the most of the local environment. Playrangers support childcare providers and work in local communities.

Family Active was developed from our work supporting families living in poverty and with health conditions. The Commonwealth Games Legacy and Spirit of 2012 Funds saw the potential to deliver significant benefit to families through this referral and support programme. It has been identified by the Scottish Government as a project of national interest.


The Leisure and Sport Service has had another successful year in providing physical activity opportunities from recreational and social pastimes to sport, dance (including ice dance) and health and fitness, not forgetting a huge ‘Learn to’ programme. Leisure and Sport saw some 1.41 million paying customers through its doors. This is one of the highest pro rata attendances of all leisure providers in the country.

Total Attendance
Wildlife Centre Visitors
Sports Development
Dundee Ice Arena Visitors
Dundee International Sports Complex
Olympia Visitors

Library and Information Highlights


A new PC booking system was installed for the 216 public access computers in libraries across the city, enabling our PC users to book onto the pcs independently, enhancing the visitor experience.

In June Dundee MSPs Shona Robison and Joe Fitzpatrick presented a donated boxed edition of the New York Herald, relevant to the Tay Bridge Disaster, to the Local History collection. The collection had been purchased by MSP Colin Beattie, who thought it would be most appropriate in a public archive. This addition builds on the wealth of maps, books, documents, drawings and photographs on the Tay Rail Bridge disaster already available in the library.

The Theory Test Pro resource was promoted to 5th and 6th year school pupils, driving schools in the area and the Theory Test Centre. All that is required is a Dundee library card to register for access to theory test questions, the Highway Code plus sample hazard perception tests.

2015 Tests Taken Questions Answered
Jan-Apr 388 13,428
2016 Tests Taken Questions Answered
Jan-Apr 1,336 49,268

A new platform ‘periscope' has been used on a few occasions to live stream events and has proved very successful with people following events from Russia, China and Scandinavia.

The new responsive L&CD website was launched in November and already traffic to the site is up by 12% compared to the previous year. Social media training has been delivered across all service areas


The Opportunities Project to support people experiencing the impact of welfare reform with the involvement of a network of volunteers has continued to develop, delivering 8,179 digital literacy sessions with 4,163 volunteer hours.

The Opportunities Project has also continued to support customers in developing their IT skills and enabling them to engage with online employability resources. Over 6500 people were given digital assistance during the year.

A dedicated group of volunteers has continued to play a pivotal role in providing IT assistance to customers. Approximately 3000 volunteer hours have been undertaken over the course of the year.

In October 2015, as part of ‘Get Online Week' we provided a range of digital sessions, including e-learning, gadget drop-in, social media training etc., and library staff have continued to offer IT tasters, tablet training and assistance to customers accessing our e-resources. In response to a number of general IT enquiries, we have now set up a monthly drop-in service where staff, volunteers and customers trouble-shoot and share their IT knowledge.

The start of 2016 marked a rebranding for the Housebound Service. The service has continued to change and evolve over the last few years and the name no longer accurately reflected what the service was. It is now called At Home Library Service.

We provide a strong service to individuals and groups within our communities who want to keep memories alive through the use of Reminiscence Collections.

Central Library provides services to people with additional support needs through the Connections Service. Groups and individuals have access to specialist software and resources to ensure that they have equal access to library services.

The Dundee Dementia Library, funded by The Scottish Government's Public Library Improvement Fund was officially launched.. The new area provides a specialised resource collection relevant to people living with dementia, carers and anyone wishing to find out more about the condition in a relaxed non-clinical setting. The service was a finalist in the Scottish Dementia Awards 2015.

The Library Service provides access to Beating the Blues, a computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy program which is now available in all libraries, allowing patients who do not have computer access at home to work through the course.


We have been a key partner in the delivery of the Read, Write, Count Scottish Government which aims to improve literacy and numeracy skills among children in Primaries 1 to 3. Through this scheme we have helped parents and carers bring fun and learning into everyday activities with their children. To help raise awareness of the initiative, we were awarded additional funding to support work with families.

Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge Scotland - almost 1,000 children registered to take part in libraries across the city with over 64% of them successfully completing the challenge to read six books over the holiday period. This activity was also accredited by The Children's University.

The Dundee Picture Book Award provides a structure for fourteen enthusiastic P6 classes to read and share the four shortlisted titles to their P1 classes and talk about the content, illustrations and storylines.

Library users are always interested in books based on local events from the past so the launch of Andrew Nicoll's The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne drew a crowd of nearly 90 people to Broughty Ferry Library, only streets away from the location of the murder itself. Andrew's interpretation of the possible sequence of events is based on his research of primary sources held in the Local History Library.

Dundee was one of the first areas in Scotland to benefit from the additional funding for Bookbug Assertive Outreach. Our Bookbug Coordinator delivered training to over 50 early years' professionals and volunteers during the year. These included Health Visitors, Social Workers, Speech and Language Therapists, Discoverin' Families Workers and volunteers, Homestart volunteers and staff from the Children's Carers Centre.


Dundee was chosen by the Scottish Government to host the national commemorations to mark the centenary of the Battle of Loos. On Friday 25th September Great War Dundee Partnership organised and hosted Remembering Loos at the Caird Hall.

The event was presented by Lorraine Kelly, Jamie McDougall, Daniel Portman and author James Robertson. They used poetry, newspaper articles and letters to give a flavour of the times and used the words of those who were there to tell the stories behind the battle.


With 1,268,929 visitors across our libraries borrowing 501,861 items and attending almost 5,000 reading events and activities including Bookbug sessions, class visits and reading groups, it has been another busy year.

Highlights of the past year have been:

Visitors to Dundee's public libraries borrowing 501,861 items
Hours of IT support provided by the 23 volunteers and staff through the Opportunities Project
PC logins made by 20,391 different users
Reading related events across the city involving local schools, third sector organisations, families and individuals
Attended the Remembering Loos national commemorative event in the Caird Hall on 25th September
Approximate number of children registered to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge with over 64% completing the challenge


Summarised statement of financial activities

For the year ended 31 March 2016

Incoming Resources

  2016 Total £ 2015 Total £
Admissions etc 3,246,535 3,046,981
Memberships 1,519,855 1,499,450
Library income 232,353 224,131
Hire of facilities 116,642 131,023
Resaleable goods 270,749 261,241
Funding 874,410 694,155
Other Income 705,656 705,943
Catering income 234,096 232,101
Interest received 8,410 15,345
Provision of Leisure & Culture facilities 7,208,706 6,810,370
Service fee from Dundee City Council 6,983,000 7,066,313
Total Incoming Resources 14,191,706 13,876,683

Resources expended

  2016 Total £ 2015 Total £
Staff costs 11,583,942 11,363,064
Pension finance and admin costs 384,354 610,115
Property costs 201,221 202,452
Supplies and services 2,306,480 2,421,146
Transport costs 209,020 272,337
Catering costs 117,646 114,017
Governance costs 10,260 10,035
Total resources expended 14,812,923 14,993,166
Total net(expenditure)/income before pension remeasurements (621,217) (1,116,483)

The information has been extracted from the statutory accounts of the SCIO

Summarised balance sheet

As at 31 March 2016

Current assets
  2016 2015
  £ £ £ £
Stocks 40,653   54,659  
Debtors 638,429   496,274  
Cash in hand and at bank 2,300,514   1,904,837  
  2,979,596   2,455,770  
Current liabilities
Creditors: amounts falling due in one year (1,704,965)   (1,802,208)  
Net current assets   2,296,546   1,959,059
Pension deficit   (10,170,941)   (11,499,616)
Net liabilities   (7,514,765)   (9,540,557)
Represented by
Unrestricted funds 2,027,231   1,472,765  
Restricted funds 628,945   486,294  
Pension deficit (10,170,941)   (11,499,616)  
Total funds   (7,514,765)   (9,540,557)

The information has been extracted from the statutory accounts of the SCIO


2017 will be the 150th Anniversary of The McManus, and staff have brought to the Board ambitious plans for the celebrations which will mark this auspicious milestone.



Trustees and staff will attend each of Dundee's eight Local Community Planning Partnerships. These meetings will provide the opportunity to share the breadth of what Leisure & Culture Dundee does and our priorities. Importantly, they will also provide a forum for us to hear feedback and issues of concern from community representatives.


With effect from the 1st April 2016 two new services transferred from the Local authority to Leisure & Culture Dundee, namely:

Ancrum Outdoor Centre - a small team of highly qualified outdoor activities specialists who work closely with Dundee schools and also offer public access to courses and a wide range of outdoor learning opportunities and hires specialist equipment to the general public, schools groups, Duke of Edinburgh Award groups, etc.

Active Schools - within each secondary school catchment area there is an Active Schools coordinator whose role it is to promote sport and links between schools pupils and community based sporting organisations.

The new community sports facilities at Harris Academy, designed and built with input from Leisure & Culture Dundee staff, will become operational in August 2016 and we look forward to promoting programmes similar to those which are operated in Grove and St Paul's and to working closely with the school to operate what will undoubtedly be a hugely popular facility in the west end of the city.

Our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Care continues to develop and, in addition to the work already established within Leisure and Sport, there are plans for a further enhancement of support for those who are coping with cancer, either as patients or carers, through the city's library network.

We have been working closely with Coca Cola and will be the second city in Scotland to deliver ‘ParkLives' – a free health and fitness programme – which will be delivered in selected communities across the city from April 2016 for three years.

The Regional Performance Centre for Sport, which is to be built in Caird Park, has now completed its planning stage. There is agreement from all the national governing bodies which will use the facility and contract documents are currently in preparation.

Stewart Murdoch
Managing Director

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