Milestone in pool campaign

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The first meeting of the shadow board of the newly-formed group working with South Ayrshire Council to progress a new multi-faceted community facility has taken place in Girvan.

The aim of the meeting of South Carrick Community Leisure – which replaces the Girvan Strategy Group – was to discuss the process to formally establish the company and enable it to explore funding opportunities.

This will provide the company with access to various grant funding streams that it hopes will help raise the £4 million required for the new facility to match the £4 million capital investment from South Ayrshire Council.

This development follows a hugely successful meeting at the end of last month where more than 60 people came along to join the group, with 15 members agreeing to form the shadow board pending formal constitution of the new company.

The shadow board members are:Alec Clark, Janice Dunn, Stephen Flanagan, Andrew Girvan, Kenneth Johnstone, Dan Lavery, Eleanor McCarry, Elizabeth McKie, Paul Rankin, Allan Rattray, Christine Robertson, Andrew Sinclair, Allison White, Scott Wilson, Winifred Wright.

The first board meeting was also attended by all three local Councillors – Ian Fitzsimons, John McDowall and Alec Oattes – as well as top third sector lawyer, Stephen Phillips, from Burness Solicitors.

Following Mr Phillips’ advice, the shadow board agreed the community company they would form would be a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), which would be regulated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

Although SCIOs are relatively new, they are seen as the ‘cutting edge’ in community companies as they are easier to operate, place fewer duties on boards and offer a single stage set-up process.

Chair of the shadow board of South Carrick Community Leisure, Stephen Flanagan, said: “I am delighted we have formed the shadow board and have now started on the journey to formally establish South Carrick Community Leisure as a limited company.

“This is yet another fantastic example of the determination and strong community spirit within Girvan and South Carrick to ensure our communities have access to the community facilities they deserve and I am thrilled the people in this area are right behind us.

“We look forward to completing the formation of the company and getting to work to bring in the funds we need to make this facility a reality.”

Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, said: “This is a major milestone on the road to delivering the multi-faceted facility approved by South Ayrshire Council at the end of last year.

“We are fully committed to supporting the formal establishment of the company and working with the board and other members to help them access the additional external funding required for this £8 million project.

“Community involvement is a vital element of that process and through South Carrick Community Leisure, I have no doubt we will continue to make significant progress over the coming weeks and months.”

While work on the specific designs for the new facility has yet to get underway, the proposals for the £8 million multi-faceted facility are set to include:

A swimming pool, cafe and fitness suite; balcony viewing areas that promote the unrivalled viewpoint of the site; a multi-purpose gathering space that could be used for community events and social activities; an outdoor learning and activity centre with climbing wall that could accommodate cycling, walking, paddle sport and sailing activities; and a quality restaurant.

It is intended that the initial phase of construction will get underway before the end of next year.

Pictured are the shadow board of South Carrick Community Leisure (Back row, l-r): Andrew Girvan, Paul Rankin, Andrew Sinclair, Allan Rattray, Alec Clark, Dan Lavery, Kenneth Johnstone, Scott Wilson, Stephen Flanagan; (Front row, l-r): Janice Dunn, Christine Robertson, Eleanor McCarry, Winifred Wright, Elizabeth McKie, Allison White. (Picture courtesy of South Ayrshire Council)