The group Families into Sport for Health (FiSH) has been approved by Comharle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) to participate in improving health and wellness.
FISH - which campaigns for Sunday opening of sports facilities - says this is the first and so far only participation request in the Western Isles under the Community Empowerment Act 2015.
A CnES spokesperson said: 'There has been no change in the Comhairle's position regarding the opening hours at Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais.
“FiSH made a request to participate in an outcome improvement process under the Community Empowerment Act. This is a request to be consulted in the development of a physical activity, sport and health strategy.
“The Comhairle has agreed to that request and will also be consulting a range of groups in the development of that strategy.’
In its request FiSH stated: “The outcome that FiSH would like considered is improved and equitable access to recreational facilities for the health and wellbeing of families, especially children.
“The output we would like considered to improve this outcome is improved access to the Ionad Spors Leodhais (ISL) by adding a minimum of 5 hours on Sundays for a 6 month trial period”.
"Members of FiSH live in the community. We are families and individuals with professional backgrounds in such areas as HR, economics, medical and mental health professionals, healthcare workers and carers, community engagement and community empowerment, and sports and athletics.
“Our membership includes those with disabilities, carers, single parents, elderly, children, those with varied religious beliefs and non-belief, sexual orientation, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds. FiSH membership has equal representation of women."
As well, FiSH has already fundraised money to cover the CnES stated shortfall for a trial of Sunday hours in order to provide a cost-neutral trial.
"This participation request approval couldn't come at a better time," FiSH member, George Macleod said, "With the current budget cutbacks, now more than ever, we as a community need to find ways of reducing pressure on our health care systems and ensuring that council run services are operating at maximum efficiency.
“As ISL has never been open on Sundays, it is impossible to know if this revenue generating services is being offered at the most efficient hours. Statistically, sports centres in the Western Isles and the rest of Scotland have their second highest revenue generating hours on Sundays. Plus, keeping ISL closed on Sundays also comes with its own costs."
In the CnES acceptance of the request, they stated: "An outcome improvement process has been established in respect of that outcome. The Quality of Life Priority Group (“the Group”) of the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership (“OHCPP”) has the remit of producing an action plan in relation to the third priority of the OHCPP’s Local Outcome Improvement Plan (“LOIP”), namely that the Outer Hebrides offers attractive opportunities that improve the quality of life, wellbeing and health of all our people.
“The Group proposes to develop a whole-life physical activity, sport and health strategy to achieve the LOIP outcome of increased levels of physical activity and mental wellbeing for children and young people. It is intended that this work will commence in March 2018. It is anticipated that the Group will recommend to OHCPP’s board in March 2018 that this be prioritised as a year-one target of the LOIP. It is expected that FiSH will have an opportunity to participate in the process by being consulted for its views on the strategy."