Twelve ice rinks in Scotland will share over £1.75million thanks to a Scottish Government funding package to help support independent and privately-owned or operated ice rinks during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The investment, distributed by sportscotland, will help ice rinks across the country mitigate the impact of the pandemic and ensure they are able to reopen safely when the time is right.
Support so far
Grants totalling £1,753,000 have been made so far from the Ice Rink Support Fund with discussions ongoing with other potential recipients. The 12 ice rinks to benefit are:
- Inverness Ice Centre Ltd (£189,000)
- Kirkcaldy Ice Rink Ltd (£214,000)
- South of Scotland Ice Rink Club, Lockerbie (£50,000)
- Lanarkshire Ice Rink PLC/Lanarkshire Ice Rink Club, Hamilton (£100,000)
- Greenacres Curling Ltd, Howwood (£139,000)
- Curl Edinburgh (£154,000)
- The Ice Rink Club, Curl Aberdeen (£240,000)
- Ayr Curling Club/Ayrshire Curlers Ltd (£181,000)
- Border Ice Rink Club, Kelso (£87,000)
- Forfar Indoor Sports Ltd (£170,000)
- Kinross Curling Trust Ltd (£132,000)
- Stranraer Ice Rink (£97,000)
Return to the rink
Sport Minister, Mairi Gougeon, said: “I’m delighted that we are able to provide additional funding to support 12 ice rinks and local clubs to help them recover from the Coronavirus pandemic with grants of over £1.75million made from the Ice Rink Support Fund as part of the £55million emergency sports funding package from the Scottish Government.
“I recognise the importance of ice sports for Scotland's sporting sector and subject to COVID levels, we would hope to see people returning to the rink when it is safe to do so.
“This vital funding will support facilities and clubs to mitigate the impact of pandemic and will hopefully allow them to reopen safely and sustainably when they can, welcoming back ice sports across the country.”
Reassurance and recovery
Stewart Harris, sportscotland CEO, added: “We know that this investment will be welcomed by the clubs and the communities that they serve. We hope it will provide some reassurance and allow the ice rinks to plan for both their immediate and longer-term futures.
“These are very challenging times, and it is important that we continue to work together with our partners across the whole sporting system to ensure that sport and physical activity is in good shape and ready to play its part in the recovery of the nation.”
Mike Ferguson, chairman of the Scottish Ice Rinks Association (SIRA), welcomed the funding by saying: "The value of the grant funding support for Scottish ice rinks, provided by Scottish Government and administered through sportscotland, cannot be understated.
"With ice rinks all across Scotland facing severe financial hardship following the COVID closures, the funding allocated should enable rinks to survive the summer months and reopen for the new 2021-22 season in a safe and healthy environment.
“SIRA members greatly appreciate the support and assistance of Scottish Government and sportscotland in advice received, and ultimately making this lifeline happen.”
Spotlight on sport
The news was also welcomed by the curling community. Bruce Crawford, Scottish Curling CEO, said: "We are delighted that the Scottish Government investment for independent ice rinks has been allocated and will help to sustain ice rinks into the future.
"We are focused now on the job of getting people back into the ice rinks at the start of the next season, after what for most will have been an 18-month break."
He added: "The coming season is critical for curling as it sees the Olympic and Paralympic Games in February and March 2022, putting the spotlight on the sport and helping to attract new people to our great game which originated in Scotland in the 1500s.
"People will be able to visit www.TryCurling.com to find out how and where to get started, to watch, learn and play the sport."