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Black Isle swim pool bid wound up as worthy £60K beneficiary revealed

By Hector MacKenzie

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Roy Sinclair, BISPF Chairman and John Maxwell, Dingwall Puffin Pool vice-chairman shake on it. Picture: James Mackenzie
Roy Sinclair, BISPF Chairman and John Maxwell, Dingwall Puffin Pool vice-chairman shake on it. Picture: James Mackenzie

DONATIONS from a determined decades-long campaign for a Black Isle swimming pool are set to benefit another worthy Ross-shire cause after the plug was pulled on the project.

While the bid to secure the facility in Fortrose accumulated £60,000 in donations, the Black Isle Swimming Pool Foundation (BISPF) has finally abandoned the project “with great regret”.

Donations received from the people of the Black Isle have now been passed over, in accordance with its statutory duty as overseen by both the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and Companies House, to Puffin Hydrotherapy Pool (PHP) in Dingwall.


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Roy Sinclair, chairman of BISPF, said: “The directors of BISPF, after discussion with the directors of PHP are confident that the funds transferred will be utilised in a professional and appropriate manner to further and extend the valuable work of PHP for the benefit of their existing clientele and for the needs of the population of the Black Isle as well.

“This decision has been made necessary due to a number of factors outside the control of BISPF over the years which have ultimately resulted in the realisation that the possibility of the provision of a swimming pool on the Black Isle is totally unrealistic at this time, due to the current and foreseeable future financial situation.

“One of the main stumbling blocks has always been the requirement of ALL the previously willing grant and loan sources for the local authority to underwrite any potential future trading losses.

“As this would constitute an open-ended commitment the Council felt unable to agree, based on an already declining financial position following the financial crash in 2007/2008 and despite the positive results shown in their own independent business plan for the proposed pool.

“We would like to thank all the many Black Islers who have supported the efforts to provide a swimming pool over the years, especially all those who have raised funds on our behalf. We are so sorry that all these efforts have failed to be successful.

“But now the time has come to accept that the buying power value of the fund is continually reducing and it is better served being utilised effectively for the benefit of the people of the Black Isle rather than simply losing value through time.”

Puffin Pool chairman Brian Liddle said: “We are extremely grateful for the large donation made by the Black Isle Swimming Pool Foundation. It will help to maintain the service offered by the Puffin Hydrotherapy Pool for the foreseeable future in addition to acquiring much needed equipment.

“We recognise however that our good fortune is a result of the end of a dream to build a swimming pool on the Black Isle. Members of the Foundation have worked tirelessly for many years for this project which has seen members of the public donate significant amounts of money towards its completion.

“The combined efforts of the Foundation and members of the public will be remembered by the Puffin Pool which serves all of the Highland area including the Black Isle.

“Thank you once again to the Foundation and people of the Black Isle.”

The Puffin Pool plays a part in offering hydrotherapy relief to people across the Highlands suffering from a variety of painful conditions, including arthritis.

It also relies heavily on public goodwill and donations to continue providing the well-received service it offers. Its funding stream includes a charity shop in Dingwall.

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