GOOD progress has been made to secure the long term future of a popular outdoor education centre which was threatened with closure last year.
But support is still needed to carry out improvements to the facility and help realise its full potential.
More than 2000 children have visited Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre in Lochgoilhead since it was taken over by Trust volunteers last November.
The leisure facility was closed by Fife Council in July last year in a bid to save £290,000. But the move prompted a strong reaction with more than 7000 people pledging support to save the centre. A campaign was launched and a Save Ardroy website was set up.
Fortunately the Trust’s proposal to run the centre was accepted by Fife Council on the condition that an agreed number of Fife youngsters use it each year.
And since the centre re-opened, the new Trust has been able to operate successfully without any public subsidy and 20 jobs have been either safeguarded or created. A number of small-scale improvements have also been carried out.
Funding support has come from various sources and with a healthy order book, the centre has quickly become self-sufficient and aims to continue delivering outdoor educational experiences for children for many years to come.
George Bruce, Trust spokesman, said: “We passionately believed in Ardroy and what it could do to inspire thousands of children and improve their life chances and it has been great to see the centre buzzing again with the laughter and excitement of young children enjoying learning experiences and making new friends.
“We are grateful for all the support and encouragement we have received from many quarters including parents, other members of the public, various Trusts and advisers, and of course Fife Council.”
Phil Thompson, head of the centre, said: “It has been a tough journey over the last year and it has been a challenge to keep the centre going.
“The place is over 40 years old and is looking a bit tired, so we would like to make improvements but we need a big investment to do that.”
He added: “We got a huge swell of support from the parents of Fife schoolchildren to keep the centre running and without that we would not be here now.”