Fundraising is about to begin once again in aid of Banchory’s swimming pool.
Local charity Bandswim are hoping to raise the required £500,000 over two years to see the long-awaited project come to fruition.
A previous campaign netted more than £200,000 in cash and pledges, now in the trusteeship of Bandswim, before it stalled over uncertainty about the feasibility of a pool.
But with Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to include a community sports facility for Banchory in its Five Year Capital Plan, Bandswim is hoping the community will rally round and raise even more.
The council’s plans for a sports facility will include a building at Hill of Banchory with wet and dry areas and could comprise a fitness suite, squash courts and meeting rooms as well as a 25 metre, six lane swimming pool and learner pool.
The Bandswim contribution will go exclusively towards the wet area and there will be public consultation about how it will be spent.
Ruth Morrison is the fundraising coordinator for the charity.
She is no amateur, having ran Northsound Radio’s Cash for Kids charity and being instrumental in creating Strictly Come Prancing - a major annual fundraiser for the Forget Me Not dementia support club.
She said: “Banchory has a wonderful history of supporting good causes so we are hoping that this one will catch the public imagination. The pool project has been talked about for ages but there were many problems to overcome before it could progress. An amazing amount of work went on in the background to overcome these problems.
“If every household in Banchory contributed just £5 each we would be well on our way and we may well set up an account where people could do just that.
“We want to tap into the imaginations and ingenuity of the Banchory people.
“We have set aside a sum for people to borrow no more than £20. They can use that to buy ingredients for cakes or toffee which they can sell, or car washing equipment, or card-making materials or anything else they believe they can turn into a profit. After six weeks, they have to return the initial stake money plus their profits. So many people have talents and this is their opportunity to use their talents to benefit the pool.”
She added that there will be other ideas forthcoming from Bandswim and individuals are welcome to come up with their own fundraising ideas but should notify Bandswim about any events they are holding.
Banchory Cllr Linda Clark said it would be “a worthwhile facility”: “I think this is a great opportunity for the community.
‘‘I sympathise that some people are frustrated that the project has gone on so long but I feel, although it may be expensive, that it will be worthwhile and a wonderful asset to the town and surrounding communities.”
Building work for the project is expected to begin in 2016.
Bandswim was set up around 20 years ago when talk about a pool for Banchory began.
Initially there was a flurry of fundraising activity which included the proceeds of the first three summer balls in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
These took the pool fund from £68,000 to £100,000.
The following year, Bandswim was granted charitable status.
Also that year, a decision was taken by Bandswim’s trustees to defer further fundraising until the outcome of a public consultation.