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SOS for pool plan

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By Fiona Reid
SOS for pool plan

'HAS it all been in vain?' — that’s the question a swimming pool group are facing amid funding woes and public apathy.

The Lockerbie Swimming Pool Trust are on the verge of calling a vote to wind up the group, after funding setbacks and apathy have left them millions of pounds short of their target.
Following a National Lottery funding rejection, a public consultation was held last Wednesday, February 8, but the trust were disappointed when just 13 people attended.
Acting as spokesman for the group, John Murray said: “On the night, we presented an in-depth report on the history and progress of the project and a chance to dispel the many myths and totally incorrect rumours and misinformation that continually do the rounds about the swimming pool trust.
“We invited all questions that anyone wished to ask. Alas, this effort fell on deaf ears.”
He added: “This was a perfect opportunity for the community to reaffirm an ongoing commitment to achieving the project.
“Despite a massive effort in preparing for this event through social media, post, email, posters and a personal visit campaign by the trustees and volunteers, the result was vastly disappointing.”
Just 13 people attended the meeting, three of them children, and the trust were equally as disappointed when no elected members showed — despite personal invites.
John said: “The trustees, who have donated countless hours of their time and effort over the last few years, have been left wondering if it has all been in vain.
“It seems abundantly clear that while local people and businesses wish to fully enjoy the benefits of a leisure centre, they are unwilling to help by donating any of their time or expertise to the project.”
Dryfe Leisure, the new name for the project, comes with a price tag of £4.1 million.
So far the trust have a third of the cash, in various forms, and windfarm company Muirhall Energy have pledged £750,000 over 25 years.
But John says Lockerbie and neighbouring communities are at risk of losing the cash stash if the project cannot move forward.
He said: “Significant amounts of money have been promised or donated to the charity.
“Should the charity be wound up it is far from certain that this money would still be made available or indeed lost to other projects outside our community.”
He added: “This fundraising effort has been achieved despite absolutely no financial support from Dumfries and Galloway Council or the National Lottery.
“The existing members of the trust need new younger people to take up the cause of the swimming pool now or it will simply not happen.
“We would appreciate members of the community who have a wealth of business knowledge or experience to help promote the project and give freely of their expertise.
“Should there be no immediate response from the community, the trust will be forced to vote for or against a proposal to wind up the trust in accordance with its deed of trust.
“Does Lockerbie want a swimming pool? Currently it seems it does not. Disagree? Prove us wrong.”
* The trust are set to meet on March 8 2017 at Lockerbie Town Hall’s Lesser Hall at 7.30 pm and invite the public to attend.