Ayr charity seeking help for pavilion revamp

Ayr charity seeking help for pavilion revamp

A summer camp at Whitletts Activity Centre

Vic’s In The Community is seeking local businesses to join the charity in a kind of ‘DIY SOS’ by donating skills, products or money via sponsorship to help regenerate the old pavilion at Whitletts Activity Centre in Ayr.

Established in 2018 with a proven track record of providing free organised football training to more than 250 children locally, Vic’s has also provided more than 15,000 meals to local people in need and is providing a Mental Health support programme to many individuals and families.

The old pavilion at Voluntary Park, together with the 3G pitch, has been taken over by Vic’s which plans to give the building a new lease of life as a community hub

Phase One of the pavilion is already underway, with a new roof currently being applied. Phase Two plans are also advanced, to provide modern changing facilities for players, plus spaces for referees and physios within the building.

Ayr charity seeking help for pavilion revamp

It is hoped that Phase Three will see the space develop even more to provide an asset for the wider community. Plans are underway to create a community hub, offering space for meetings, functions and an all-round facility where people can come together; reducing isolation and creating training and employment opportunities for local people.

Ed Hanna is a trustee of Vic’s In The Community, as well as a volunteer football coach and team manager. He said: “We are hugely grateful to South Ayrshire Council for the long-term lease of the facility. To move forward and achieve our ambitions we are asking for help from local people and businesses to be able to meet our plans within a reasonable timeframe.

“Ayrshire has many contrasts, including huge disparities in wealth and amenities. We know times are tough for many and are asking local people and businesses across Ayrshire to work with us to create something of genuine community value. They can do this simply by buying advertising banner space around the park – or by donating a kitchen, appliances, construction materials and building skills to help us restore the pavilion to its full potential.”

Vic’s In The Community has been in existence for four years, providing emergency support to more than 350 families during Covid, providing Christmas meals, and helping with cost of living support to those most in need.

Ayr charity seeking help for pavilion revamp

The children’s football programme launched in earnest four years ago and continues to grow weekly. A new 3G pitch has already been laid, where around 250 young people play football from ‘Fun Fours’ up to the semi-professional West of Scotland Football League. Other activities, such as walking football, are due to be added shortly.

With assistance from the community development manager and coaching staff, the charity has been running free football summer camps 5 days a week through the holidays. Free lunches were also donated by South Ayrshire Council as part of its Holiday Hunger initiative.

To show the impact the club is making at the recently re-named New Voluntary Park, it has recently welcomed Allan Dorrans MP, Siobhan Brown MSP and several local councillors who have vigorously supported every stage of the charity’s journey.

Ed Hanna added: “I work with a great bunch of trustees and volunteers. Our clear focus is to provide opportunities for people within our local community that they would not otherwise have. Our work over the last couple of years has led to significantly increased awareness and increased demand. We began in 2018 by providing football activities for children but now offer an increasing amount of adult activities, shortly to include walking football.

Ayr charity seeking help for pavilion revamp

“We are proud to offer something for everyone, with a definite focus on fun, health and fitness, reducing isolation and improving opportunities and life chances for all.

“We offer an extensive, ongoing, community support programme, providing group and 1:1 support, assistance with the current cost of living crisis and provide signposting to services. These services are currently provided on an outreach basis, but the vision is to bring these together with our football programmes. The plan is to base all within the community hub, providing long term support for the community.

“This is our vision and we need your help. This is very much for the community and we are hoping for as much support as possible to realise our ambitions.

“We can’t bring you Nick Knowles and the whole DIY SOS team, but we offer a guarantee to local businesses that every penny or man-hour they donate will be used to improve lives and benefit the local community long term.”

If anyone would like to get involved or thinks they might be able to help, please call Ed Hanna on 07736 069339.

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