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Community / Trust welcomes new funding scheme as leisure centres need urgent repairs

The swimming pool at Clickimin Leisure Complex. If Shetland Recreational Trust was snared by the overhauled business rates scheme, it could lose out to the tune of £750,000 a year.
The Clickimin Leisure centre pool.

SHETLAND Recreational Trust (SRT) has welcomed a potential funding boost for upgrades to its ageing buildings – with the organisation needing to spend millions on maintaining its leisure centres.

It comes after Shetland Charitable Trust, which is SRT’s main funder, announced last week that it would offer an extra £12 million for repairs and improvements at sports and leisure venues between 2022 and 2025.

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This should benefit SRT, Shetland Amenity Trust and Shetland Arts, which all receive core funding from the charitable trust, as well as Voluntary Action Shetland, which operates Market House in Lerwick.

Recreational trust chief executive Steven Laidlaw said that work needed across its eight leisure centres included jobs on roofs, windows, harling, air conditioning units and electrical hardware.

The total cost of these works stretches into the millions.

“It is no secret that Shetland Recreational Trust’s buildings are reaching the age where repairs are necessary, in some cases urgently,” Laidlaw said.

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“Funding that work is a huge challenge for the trust. We are incredibly grateful to Shetland Charitable Trust for its ongoing support as our core funder and are delighted that a new capital grant is being made available.

“This recognises the ever-rising costs we face in maintaining swimming pools and leisure centres across our communities.

“I will be looking closely at what work needs to be prioritised to ensure our facilities continue to meet the high standards customers expect.

“Being able to apply for extra funding is a huge boost in terms of being able to plan the work over the coming years.”

Laidlaw has previously warned of the financial pressures the trust is facing, which has led officials to consider ways to maximise revenue generation in its buildings.

One proposal which has been mooted was introducing soft play equipment for children in the Clickimin – but this would reduce the size of the indoor bowls rink.

It is also exploring a proposal to create a holiday park adjacent to the Unst Leisure Centre.

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