THE MEADOWS Sports Centre has received an unexpected and welcome boost, after an anonymous well-wisher donated a £5000 interest-free loan to the facility.
The donor - known only to Meadows chairman Jack Nixon - pledged the money with no strings attached during a phonecall to the Meadows last week, in recognition of the facility’s value to the community as a centre for sporting activity and excellence. The Meadows is Aberdeenshire’s second largest sports facility, and hosts a number of local sports teams.
Mr Nixon said that staff at the centre were ‘delighted’ with the donation, and that it was an extremely welcome contribution in a tough financial climate for community facilities in the wake of significant spending cuts by local authorities, including Aberdeenshire Council.
“It could not have come at a better time for us, as our outgoings are stretching us to the limit. We are in the process of bringing the gym up to date, which is very expensive,” he said. “This individual’s faith in the Meadows is astonishing.”
“The donor expressed their belief in what we are doing at the Meadows, and was happy to give us a long term loan without interest. I was equally happy to accept the generous offer, which will tide us through a difficult time as we prepare to open our new look gym in August.
“We will be considering how we can do a bit of our own fundraising in future as well.”
He added that the centre had enjoyed support from the council, in spite of funding cuts.
“We may have had our grant cut by 40%, but we have enjoyed considerable support from the officials in putting the excellent facilities on the map. It’s a partnership which is paying dividends,” he said.
Ellon Councillor Gillian Owen was similarly impressed by the donation, adding: “It’s good to see such support for the Meadows. They deserve it, and have worked hard to make things work. We are happy to do what we can as a council.
“I believe there has been a change in attitude among elected members towards the centre. I’m privileged to be involved.”
Currently the 20-year-old centre is on a drive to attract members to the new look gym which will open its doors to the public in the late summer.
Shona Galbraith, one of the facility’s joint managers, told the Times: “A lot of planning has gone into the exercise, not to say money. This generous offer will go a long way to ensuring we meet our target.”