Aberlour Curling Club gets make over

20/10/2014 23:59

Working together with a youth charity, students from a local

high school have helped transform a curling rink needing

repair, into a focal point for the community.


Aberlour Curling Rink was being used as a cheeky shortcut on the way to school, but twelve students from Speyside High School selected the rink for renovation work, as part of a community project through their school and charity, SkillForce. With support from the school’s Rector, the young people aged 11-16 presented a plan to the chairman of Aberlour Curling Club, Andy Cameron, and he gladly agreed.

Andy said: “We were delighted that the school and SkillForce wanted to work with us. Our Curling Club celebrates its 130th anniversary next year and we have a long and happy history at this venue in Aberlour. We needed to improve facilities though to keep attracting more curlers, particularly after the Olympics have brought such interest.”

Rector of Speyside High, Nigel Engstrand said: “As a school we are committed to being of service to the communities of Speyside. Our core school values are respect, responsibility and resilience. We saw an opportunity to make a positive impact upon the club, its members, the village of Aberlour and our students.

“It was clear who could take the project forward – SkillForce. Only last year two instructors worked with a group of students on the regeneration of the local football club’s pitch and pavilion. Work at the Aberlour Curling Club rink builds on those achievements. Our students are motivated to make the project a success and are gaining a huge amount of self-confidence and a sense of responsibility.

SkillForce is a charity that draws on the values and skills of those who have served their country in the Armed Forces to inspire young people. Dan Davidson, a SkillForce instructor, worked with Speyside High School students and the Rector to develop the project. Dan said: “It was a real, hands-on challenge – but one the students dedicated themselves to with great enthusiasm. This was a six month project with the young people taking on different roles and responsibilities. That was a big part of it - learning new skills while serving the community. The students have used this project to improve teamwork, planning, communication skills, and problem solving. They did brilliantly, writing to local builders and building merchants. Travis Perkins and Bells Division in Elgin were terrific and generously gave insulation, plasterboard and paint. The Speyside students did the work themselves, devoting four hours a week for six months.” The whole project will help the students gain credits for an ASDAN Silver Life Skills qualification and will go towards the SkillForce Junior Prince’s Award, a unique award supported by our Patron Prince William, the Earl of Strathearn. Nigel Engstrand added: “The other exciting outcome from the project is that Andy Cameron from Aberlour Curling Club has offered to accompany students to the rink at Elgin to give them a taste of curling.”

Andy concluded: “The renovation is wonderful. A testament to the hard work of the students and we are very grateful. We hope to inspire more to join us, and are looking to the future with renewed confidence.”