SHETLAND Recreational Trust officially opened its new £1.5 million state-of-the-art gym and reception area at the Clickimin Leisure Centre, months after people started using it.
Investing in a new and much larger gym, together with re-arranging the centre’s reception area, became necessary as part of the project to redevelop the leisure centre for school sports following the opening of the new Anderson High School next door two years ago.
Introducing the new facility to a group of invited guests at Monday lunchtime, trust chairman Bryan Leask said the leisure centre was now offering a wide range of health rehabilitation classes in partnership with NHS Shetland and is also regularly used by groups from Ability Shetland and the Eric Gray Centre.
Just over £900,000 of the overall cost came from Shetland Islands Council as part of the Anderson High School project, while the local EU LEADER programme contributed £325,000. The recreational trust used a further £232,000 of its own funds towards the project.
While the closer association with the council’s schools department has proved beneficial for the trust in that it provides the organisation with greater financial stability, Leask paid tribute to the continued financial support from Shetland Charitable Trust which enables the trust to keep its prices at a reasonable level.
Without the multi-million pounds annual contribution coming from the charitable trust, prices for using the gym, attending spinning classes or enjoying the many swimming pools across Shetland would need to be around 150 per cent higher, he said.
“We always had the aspiration of making it a more accessible gym. Ever since we have been here at Clickimin accessibility to and size of the gym had been an issue,” Leask said.
“We couldn’t get the number of people in that we wanted. Also, in the past, we only had one wheelchair position; with the new gym there is no limitation.
“So we now can bring in Ability Shetland and Eric Gray Centre, and we can have five, ten, fifteen people with mobility needs and support, and we can provide that now. So, accessibility has become a huge part of what we trying to do.”
He added: “I think we have to acknowledge the support that we get from the charitable trust. At the moment we charge £8 for an hour in the gym. Without the support from the trust that would be £20.
“While some people would say ‘eight pounds is still not affordable’, it is as affordable as it can be for the service that we provide.”
Designed by PJP Architect, the work was carried out by local building contractors DITT.