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Members Newsletter

Members Newsletter – September 2017


Highlife Highland Update


With the new plant now installed the board have aspirations to further upgrade the facilities at your Ice Centre, the bar, toilets and changing areas along with modernising our booking systems and payment mechanisms. We also seek to increase interest in Ice Sports overall which in turn allows us to keep the Ice Centre sustainable for the future while allowing us to attract more national interest in using our Ice Centre to host events from outside of the area.

Staffing Structure

The Ice Centre staffing structure that has been in place now since the Ice Centre was purchased by the users back in 2002 and the board are looking to install a robust management structure that will help us through the next steps of the upgrading. At the end of last year the board of directors of Inverness Ice Centre (IIC) approached High Life Highland (HLH) to discuss whether there would be benefit to members by entering into a partnership and help us to manage Inverness Ice Centre and look at the benefits of such a partnership.

IIC Staff were informed that these discussions taking place at the end of December 2016 and HLH managers were invited to speak to staff to understand more about the running of the centre. A proposed staffing structure has now been produced and should we enter an agreement with HLH all staff will be protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE).


Over the years we have renewed, repaired and upgraded many areas of the building including the lift, disabled toilets, ice hall lighting as well as the recent plant, floor and barriers in-stallation. Normally this work has been undertaken as and when required or when we have had some spare funds to do the necessary work, however further to the recent building surveys taken by HLH estates officers a number of areas of were highlighted and require to be attended to prior to any possible partnership with Highlife Highland. These include the resur-facing of the carpark, legionella works and repairs to roof gutters which will be scheduled in over the coming months.

What would a transfer mean?

Should the transfer occur, the users of IIC would continue to own the building and have their Directors in place to look after things exactly as they have been for since 2002. However Inverness Ice Centre are still responsible for the costs of addressing any significant failures in the structure of the building, such as the replacement of the roof or plant.

The respective roles and responsibilities of IIC and HLH would be set out in a Service Level Agreement and a profit share agreement would be put in place. For the first year there will

be very little change, the ice centre continues to function as is but the day to day management will come under the control of HLH, the new staffing structure will be implemented and HLH will take over financial control of the core sports at the Ice Centre. The Directors of IIC will remain in place and hold 3 monthly review sessions with Highlife Highland to ensure things continue along the lines it has been but with some added efficiencies.


Some of the key benefits are summarised below

· safeguards Inverness Ice Centre and ensures continued access to ice sports and lei-sure activities for residents of and visitors to the Highlands;

· preserves the only ice rink left in the Highlands;

· presents opportunities for the HLH sports team to work with the governing bodies of curling, skating and ice hockey to identify opportunities to increase participation levels in these activities, for example the Active Schools Co-ordinators;

· Increased chance of funding opportunities for modernisation of bar, toilet and changing areas

· modernise the payment mechanism and booking system for ice sports

· potential to develop the programme of events and activities offered within the centre through collaboration with other HLH services;

· opportunity to offer ice sports as part of the High Life membership scheme;

· potential to establish a programme of family activities and events in the Bught area linking all HLH facilities;

· potential to reduce the operating overheads of the centre by being part of the larger HLH portfolio;

· potential to achieve efficiencies of scale and to identify growth opportunities through linking the catering and retailing operations of the HLH facilities in the Bught area;

· potential to increase revenue for IIC through the profit sharing agreement being proposed;

Next steps

HLH have now presented a business case to their trading board and have agreed in principle to respond positively, should the IIC board make a formal approach.

We will be producing an FAQ section on the website and in addition we would like to invite you to a meeting prior to the AGM where you can ask Directors and HLH representatives any questions.

Kind Regards

Tom Pendreigh, Chair of the Board of Directors

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

1. Will Inverness Ice Centre have to pay back their loans/Grants if Highlife Highland “

“take over”?

No as its not a “take over” Highlife Highland are only providing day to day manage-ment of the facility, in fact some of our funders are happy to see us look at these type of options.

2. Why have we not been informed at the AGM….which we have not had?

Due to the large investment undertaken to replace the plant, floor and barriers we have been advised to have an 18 month financial year, hence the delayed AGM.

3. What about the debenture holders don’t they have a say?

We want everyone to have a say in what goes on at the Ice Centre but we are at the early stages and need to have a proposal inlace so we can have specifics to discuss and be able supply answers to those questions.

4. Surely we have enough money in the bank to do the repairs that are needed?

Running ice facilities are costly and expensive and very few run at a profit, Inverness Ice Centre have continually reinvested on upgrading the facility at every opportunity. Next on our list is the car park resurfacing, new guttering and some internal plumbing works.

5. On the Coaching side will all the coaches have to be vetted by Highlife Highland and become employees?

Re the coaches – yes all coaches employed or engaged by HLH in a voluntary ca-pacity would require to go through Highlife Highland standard PVG checks. If you are not doing this at present its recommend you do so. If you need any advice please speak to our Principal Sports Development Manager and is responsible for a small army of HLH volunteers.

6. Surely we have enough cash in the bank to carry out the work that needs to be done without having Highlife Highland involved?

Highlife Highland are not investing the monies to do the maintenance work, the In-verness Ice Centre is. Other funding opportunities may arise through this partnership in the future for other upgrades.

7. Why have the members not been consulted? 

The Board Of Directors were involved in a lot of investigative work to asses the viability of any such proposal. Once they aggreed there was a benefit to taking the proposal forward they informed and consulted firstly with the staff. From there a meeting will be held with the members, users and stakeholders. We are currently inviting the various groups to these meetings.

8. Is curling going to be sidelined for more popular sports such as skating?

There will be very little change to the operation in the first year of the agreement and any future changes in the Ice Diary will be through consultation with the Board Of Directors. The agreement will be aiming to develop and grow all the ice sports at Inverness Ice Centre. Highlife Highland will be working very closely with both the Staff and DIrectiors for their guidance.