How the new facility will look at the harbour
"Incredible" and "transformational" is how the last 12 months were characterised at last night's Annual General Meeting of South Carrick Community Leisure (SCCL) – the charitable community organisation set up to raise the community funding for the new Girvan and South Carrick leisure and community facility being constructed by South Ayrshire Council.
Scheduled to open in 2016, the new facility will comprise a 25 metre pool, a two-storey soft play area, a superb fitness gym with around 40 fitness stations, a flexible multi-purpose studio that can be used for arts, culture and community events, and a café area where people can keep an eye on the sport and leisure activities underway throughout the centre or simply sit back and enjoy the stunning views out to Ailsa Craig.
Eighty-five per cent of the £5 million capital costs to build the new facility have now been committed to the project, with £4 million being invested by South Ayrshire Council and £250,000 from Carrick Futures.
News on the outcomes of three other major funding applications – to the Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund, sportscotland and the Scottish Government's Regeneration Capital Grant Fund – are expected in the next few weeks.
Andrew Sinclair, Chair of SCCL, said: "It's been an incredible – and eventful! – year for everyone involved in the project to deliver this wonderful new facility and a year that really marks a significant turnaround both in terms of what we're doing and how we'll deliver this facility.
"This time last year we had designs for a more expensive building that looked great, but we had no plan for how it could be delivered or how we could pay for it. Twelve months on, we not only have a realistic design and business plan that we know we can deliver – we also have the bulk of the monies in place and we've started the procurement process for both the remainder of the design work and the actual construction work itself. That's certainly what I call progress!
"We are indebted to all those who have helped us reach this transformation over the last year and with their continued support, drive and determination, we know we will succeed in what we want to do.
"More than at any time in the past, we are close to delivering on our ambitions not only to build a new pool, but to provide much-needed and enhanced leisure and community facilities that can make a difference for every single person in Girvan and South Carrick.
"I'm very proud to be part of that and thank my fellow board members, our executive group, our volunteers, our local elected members and our communities for the vital roles they have played and ask for their continued support as we continue to move forward."
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, added: "The last 12 months for the Girvan and South Carrick project have been nothing short of transformational, taking us from an aspirational vision to a real and tangible facility that we plan to have up and running in two years' time. That's a massive step forward.
"We are also – I hope – on the precipice of a major milestone regarding the funding for the building of the new facility where, subject to the outcome of the outstanding funding applications, we could have all the necessary investment in place by the end of this year.
"Such progress means we can start to look to the future and focus on how we will operate the new facility when it opens for business. Our expectation continues to be that SCCL will assume responsibility for operating the building. However, this will require some fundamental changes for SCCL to ensure the right skills, experience and governance are in place for the board to take on the challenge of refining, and more importantly, delivering on the business plan and ensuring the sustainability of the business.
"Discussions around this now need to progress swiftly and we'll be working closely with Andrew and the rest of the board to make sure SCCL is in the best possible position to tackle the task ahead.
"That's a very positive place for us to be as it shows how far we've come – and how much closer communities in Girvan and South Carrick are to getting the leisure and community facilities they deserve."
Andrew Sinclair concluded: "We're confident we can make the changes necessary to show that we can – and will – run the new building successfully, ensuring this wonderful community asset can stay where we want it to be: in the hands of the community."
Trustees of the board of SCCL were elected for another year at the AGM, with Andrew Sinclair re-elected as Chairperson; Kenneth Johnstone as Vice-Chairperson and Treasurer; and Eleanor McCarrey as Secretary.