By Lucy Ashton
An ice rink earmarked for closure could be saved by a bid from Scottish Curling and a community group.
Ayr Ice Rink is due to close next month due to increasing energy costs – with claims that it would cost an extra £150,000 a year to continue operating. More than 10,000 people signed a petition against the move.
Scottish Curling and charity Glasgow Ice Centre have joined forces to buy the rink. Owner Ayrshire Curlers Ltd said the offer was being considered.
According to the Glasgow Ice Centre, the rink is home to 40 curling clubs of 550 members, two figure skating clubs and a junior ice hockey club catering for about 350 youngsters a week.
The consortium plans to keep the current rink open at Limekiln Road for the next five years while a new facility is built.
Helensburgh has its own curling club, for example, and curling is one of the favourite sports of members of Dumbarton Rotary Club.
Curling, ice hockey, and skating clubs would continue to use it, along with the local community.
Scottish Curling’s chief executive Vincent Bryson said: “We’ve had extensive conversations with a variety of agencies over the past weeks and months.
“We believe this collaboration with Glasgow Ice Centre is our best bid to keep Ayr Ice Rink open for the next few years and keep ice sports activities going.”
Glasgow Ice Centre was founded as a charity in 2020 to improve health and well-being through leisure activities and ice rink sports.
Alan Hannah, chairman of the Glasgow Ice Centre, said: “We are excited about the possibility of saving ice sports in Ayrshire, and allowing its large community of ice users to continue doing the activities that they love in their local area.
“By making an offer for Ayr Ice Rink we are acting within the remit of our charitable aims, and I hope the offer is welcomed by the rink’s shareholders.”
Alex Strachan, chairman of the Ayr Bruins Junior Ice Hockey club, said: “I am delighted that Glasgow Ice Centre have offered to help in our mission to stop the closure.
“It’ll make a massive difference to the 350 young people in the Ayr Bruins Junior Club who consider the ice rink a second home and safe haven.”
In a joint statement, Leah McGowan, president of Ayr Figure Skating Club and Heather Black, of Kyle Figure Skating Club, said: “Figure Skating has a long and proud history in Ayr.
“We want to do everything we can to ensure figure skating can survive and thrive in Ayr and that this beautiful sport continues to be available for all the children, young people and adults that call Ayr Ice Rink home.”
Eve Muirhead, medal winning star of Scotland ladies’ curling team. Top picture: Curlers on the skating pond at the top of Sinclair Street in Helensburgh.