Brechin Community Tourism Project Receives £8,000 Boost

Brechin’s Inch Park is at the centre of an exciting community-led tourism initiative which could finally see the town’s old leisure centre brought back into use.

A steering group is bidding to make the area beside the River South Esk a jewel in the town’s crown once again.

And it has recently landed four-figure lottery funding.

The cash will help progress a study to look at how the old centre could fit into the overall project.

And there are also plans in the pipeline for local schools to be involved in a project charting Brechin’s stories in stone.

A year ago, Brechin and Girvan were chosen to feature in a pilot project for community-led tourism by the Scottish Government.

It saw the setting up of the steering group made up of representatives from different elements of the community.

The programme was supported by social enterprise organisation SENScot and Creetown Initiative in Dumfries and Galloway.

And the group is celebrating its first anniversary with the £8,000 Awards for All grant.

Rachel Benvie, project support for the group said “We were delighted to hear about this success.

“It will enable us to complete a feasibility study for the development of the Inch Park, which will include the old leisure centre.

“It is a truly lovely place which has been enhanced by the flood prevention scheme and is so full of potential to become a jewel in Brechin’s crown for local people and visitors to explore and enjoy.

“With the pandemic, we have all come to realise how important our outdoor spaces are,” said Rachel.

The study will involve public consultation, such as a drop-in event, so that everyone can have a chance to contribute.

And a range of other projects are due for completion by next spring.

Those include floral displays at the town entrances and other key locations.

A promotional video showcasing Brechin’s tourism offering is also being put together.

And the steering group is waiting to find out about further funding for another element of the ambitious scheme.

It links in with 2022 – the Year of Scotland’s Stories.

Rachel, who has worked as curator in Angus’s town museums since 1987, plans to work with Brechin’s three schools and local sculptors on the Stories in Stone project.

It aims to create a permanent outdoor exhibition inspired by the richness of the historic burgh’s written and oral heritage.

“This is a very new concept” she said.

“We are so fortunate to have four local stonemasons and sculptors who will be working on it.”

More details about the overall project are available on Angus Tourism Cooperative’s website and Brechin Community Led Tourism Facebook page.

The leisure centre at The Inch closed in 2016 when the town’s £26.5 million community campus opened.

In 2019, a community asset transfer request for the building was rejected.

Angus Council chiefs have promised a community consultation on the centre’s future.

It follows complaints not enough has been done to find a new use for the property.

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