Sea sport project progresses to planning stage

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Plans to create a multifaceted sea sports facility in Campbeltown are progressing at a rate of knots.

Kintyre Seasports SCIO has applied for planning permission to build the new facilities on the existing sailing club site.

If approved the project will be able to accommodate 500 active water sports members (200 from outside Kintyre), act as a community hub and, according to British Marine Scotland, attract 700 additional visitors per annum.

It will also allow Kintyre Seasports (KSS) to scale up its Changing Lives programmes well beyond its current capacity of 50 young people a year as well as delivering generational social and economic benefits.

Explaining his vision, Campbell Fox, chair of KSS, said: ‘In 2016 a community study showed major potential to develop water sports, create life chances and attract tourism to Kintyre, an area with outstanding natural resources and pockets of deprivation.

‘The Kintyre Seasports SCIO was formed in 2017 to realise that potential. We connect education providers, community groups and water sports clubs to break barriers and provide health, well-being and economic benefits for all.

‘The SCIO – Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation – structure fosters inclusion of, and governance by, corporate members.

‘In our case four water sports clubs and six community groups have linked to form a single organisation with real purpose.’

Since its formation in 2016 KSS has already broken a lot of ground:

​•In 2018 60 local volunteers organised its first community regatta.  The 2019 event attracted over 400 people, with 40 per cent visitors and 200 ‘wetsuit’ participants.

•Local participation in sailing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and diving doubled from 2017 through 2020, and is on the rise.

•18 local volunteer coaches, all qualified by the relevant national sports governing bodies, are supporting safe and sustainable growth.  KSS expects a further seven coaches to qualify in 2022.

•Instigation of two Changing Lives partnership programmes, Try Dive and Sailing Instructor training, to improve the education and employability of disadvantaged young people.

•Working with Campbeltown Grammar School and Argyll College to build on these programmes and facilitate maritime vocational training in Campbeltown.

‘This exceptional track record was achieved by unpaid volunteers using outdated and inadequate facilities.  With the right resources we can do a lot more,’ added Campbell.

‘In 2022 we are employing a full-time manager/chief instructor to accelerate progress and develop new initiatives.

‘We are already working with Campbeltown Sailing Club to qualify KSS as an RYA Registered Training Centre, to generate income and strengthen the funding case for the 21st century facilities that can establish Campbeltown as an internationally recognised marine tourism destination.’

KSS wishes to thank volunteers, funders, Argyll and Bute Council, Campbeltown Sailing Club, Dalintober Beach Group, all of its partners, RYA Scotland, John Renshaw Architects and Blue Sea Consulting for getting the project to this point.

The conceptual design submitted for planning permission can be viewed here.