Glasgow Life has enjoyed a spectacular year, with attendances of 16.8 million across the city’s network of sporting and cultural venues. The record-breaking attendance figure, up 2.3 million on the previous year, comes as the organisation revealed that in its first five years, it had delivered savings of £53.3 million to the city as a result of its charitable status.
Glasgow Life operates some of Scotland’s most iconic venues, including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, The Burrell Collection, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Riverside Museum. It also operates Scotland’s biggest health and fitness network, the Glasgow Club, across 25 venues, including the recently opened Emirates Arena, which includes the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. The charity also manages community facilities and services and the city’s 33 public libraries, including the Mitchell, Europe’s largest public reference library.
Councillor Archie Graham, the Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “These figures prove, once again, that sport and culture are of huge importance to the people of Glasgow. We’ve enjoyed record-breaking attendance figures and despite the massive economic challenges, none of our facilities have been closed.
“What’s more in its first five years, Glasgow Life has delivered savings of more than £53 million to the city. That’s a hugely significant figure, which is being reinvested in frontline services, right across Glasgow.”
The success has been highlighted with the publication of the charity’s Annual Review of 2011/12. Highlights include:
• The Riverside Museum recording 1.6 million visits in its first year, massively exceeding expectations.
• Sport attendances of almost 6 million, up 8 per cent on the previous year.
• Glasgow Club membership rising by 7.5 per cent to over 24,000 members, generating income of £6.5 million.
• Free swims for older citizens and young people led to increased demand for the fifth successive year to 270,000, which is a 6% increase year on year.
• Attendances at city libraries up to 5 million.
• Increase in uptake of Glasgow Young Scot and Kidz cards, with over 80,000 children and young people using their cards for free and discounted access to physical activity and major events.
• Glasgow Music enjoyed audiences of 485,000 across the Concert Halls, Old Fruitmarket, City Halls and other venues.
• Celtic Connections enjoyed a record-breaking year, with more than 100,000 attendances and ticket sales in excess of £1.1 million.
• Record-breaking figures at events such as the Merchant City Festival, with 90,000 people in attendance.
• 11,000 people took computer classes to better their employment or training prospects and 6,700 parents and carers of pre-school children took part in positive parenting programmes, such as Bounce ‘n’ Rhyme.
Glasgow has invested almost £250 million in sports facilities since 1980. This, together with a growing reputation for staging world-class major sporting events and exhibitions, culminated in winning the right to host the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Glasgow Life continues to play a critical role in the delivery of the games.
The organisation will deliver the Cultural Programme and lead in the delivery of the Opening and Closing ceremonies, which will promote Glasgow on a global scale. It has also worked to ensure the City’s major capital programmes are in place, including the Emirates Arena and the Tollcross International Swimming Centre. In doing so, Glasgow Life has provided a tangible lasting legacy, which will impact on its citizens long after the athletes have returned home.
Councillor Graham, added: “Staff at Glasgow Life are critical to the delivery of the Games, but more importantly, to ensuring that the benefits of hosting the Games are enjoyed by all of our citizens.
“The fact that our citizens are already enjoying sport and cultural activities in record-breaking numbers bodes well for 2014. I’m sure that the passion and dedication of the staff and volunteers across Glasgow Life will be keenly felt in the coming weeks and months and will play a fundamental role in the delivering a real and lasting legacy of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.”