The Pickaquoy Centre is unlikely to open before November due to the financial challenges imposed by Covid-19.
While the Scottish Government has indicated that gyms and leisure centres across Scotland may open on 14 September, the complete shutdown of the venue for more than four months has meant that all income generated through customer usage has ceased.
Due to these financial pressures caused by the lockdown, and the anticipated reduced income to the centre as a result of physical distancing requirements, it will be highly likely that the Pickaquoy Centre will not be able to open on that date.
The Pickaquoy Centre Trust, that manages and runs the centre, has been working closely with a number of funding bodies, and will continue to seek financial support as it faces the many challenges ahead.
James Linklater, Managing Director of The Pickaquoy Centre Trust, said: “Like so many other charitable leisure trusts and businesses across Scotland, we have been put in an unexpected and precarious position.
“We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support we’ve received from Orkney Islands Council, and continue to work closely with them to try and identify possible solutions in these unprecedented times. However, the fact remains that we are facing what is probably the toughest financial period that the Trust has ever experienced.
“Even when we do open, it will be a phased approach and there will be a number of factors to consider that will affect us operationally and financially over the coming months and beyond.
“Due to physical distancing guidelines, there will be limited capacity for the number of customers that can use the facility at any given time, and these areas will require additional staff to maintain the cleaning that will be necessary for customer and staff safety. In addition, certain areas of the facility will not be able to open for the foreseeable future as it will not be safe to do so under current guidelines.
“The safety of our staff and customers, and the sustainability of Picky as an essential community facility, must be our priority. However, all of these issues need to be considered in detail as each affects the financial landscape of our future.
“Until we are able to open the doors again, we will continue to engage with the public through our social media channels, and deliver online classes that we hope give people in Orkney an opportunity to remain active and help improve wellbeing throughout this stressful period.
Stephen Kemp, chair of The Pickaquoy Centre Trust, said: “We understand that leisure and sport play a vital role in the physical and mental wellbeing of our community, and are very keen to see people using the facility again. However, we want the Trust to be here for years to come, and the reality is that there are no easy answers. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that we can deliver our fantastic range of services into the future.”
James added: “On behalf of all of us at Picky, I would like to thank the Orkney community once again for their ongoing support, and we will continue to keep you up-to-date as decisions are made around our future service provision.”