Leisure hall sale was fair and open

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In response to the claims made by Coun Jim Ellis in your article of September 25 “Probe over leisure hall deal income”, the transfer of the leisure halls and subsequent sale was a decision the council took as part of its package of budget reduction measures in 2011.

This is part of the savings needed following the £21m cut in government grant the council faced last year.

The Halls were run by the Wigan and Leisure and Culture Trust who are paid a Community Services fee by the Council to run its leisure services in addition to retaining the income from the venues.

The Council’s Leisure Client offer agreed an annual reduction of £150,000 in the Community Services fee as a result of this decision.

The sale of halls has been reviewed by our internal auditors and this report was shared with the Council’s external auditors after having been reported to the Council’s audit committee on June 7, 2011.

This report which found the process to be fair was an open report and has been available for public inspection on our website since the date of the meeting.

Paul McKevitt, Director of Corporate Services

Bristol Cats need more kittens

Kitten owners living in the UK are helping with the ‘Bristol Cats’ study being run by the University of Bristol, but even more kittens are needed to take part in the first study of its kind that will help improve the health and welfare of cats in the future.

The researchers wish to recruit a further 700 kitten owners who own a kitten aged between eight and 16 weeks by the end of December 2012.

‘Bristol Cats’, led by academics at the University’s School of Veterinary Sciences, is being carried out because little is known about the causes of common behaviour patterns and diseases of cats, such as, obesity, diet, lifestyle, aggression towards people, spraying and lower urinary tract problems.

Kitten owners, who are over 18 years of age, complete four online or postal questionnaires, initially when their kittens are approximately eight to 16 weeks, then again at six, 12, and 18 months of age.

These questionnaires provide the researchers with very valuable data.

The researchers can analyse these data to see to what extent certain characteristics or conditions are associated with the cat’s management and other factors.

Details about the study, including access to online questionnaires and results, are available at www.bristol.ac.uk/vetscience/cats.

Owners can complete questionnaires online or request paper questionnaires. Participation in the study is voluntary and owners have the right to withdraw from the study at any point.

If you are interested in helping with the study, please call the ‘Bristol Cats’ team on 07827 981412 or email cat-study@bristol.ac.uk

Dr Jane Murray and Emma Gale

Bristol Cats study

University of Bristol