THE Save the SpArC campaign and charity in Bishops Castle is quietly celebrating reaching its first £100,000 target since being launched in March 2016 to rescue the town’s sport and art centre from closure threats.

Save the SpArC campaign supporters have worked tirelessly to raise both awareness of the leisure centre and funding, resulting in £100,000 being raised from a variety of sources including £12,000 from an M&S energy grant for a new pool cover, a wide variety of fundraising events held in and around Bishops Castle, crowd funding and private donations.

All have helped the campaign to reach this milestone target and trustees’ chair Jean Shirley said: “On behalf of the trustees I would like to thank everyone who has helped us to reach this massive goal. Without the hard work and support of local businesses, groups, volunteers and individuals in our communities as well as local town and parish councils we would not have achieved this.

“As we move forward with Shropshire Council in developing the centre we know that we will need to maintain a regular income stream. We will roll out plans to raise additional regular funding locally to replace the significantly reduced funding available from Shropshire Council in the future.”

Trustee and treasurer Graham Hemmings said: “This is a fantastic amount to have raised in just over two years and we are very grateful to everyone that has helped or contributed in whatever way. We are working with local town and parish councils to secure regular revenue streams as well as on encouraging regular private donations, however large or small, which will attract gift aid thus increasing the value of the donation by 25 per cent. Anyone interested in supporting the charity in this way can email or telephone 01588 638250.”

Secretary Ruth Houghton added: “The Save the SpArC campaign has not just been about raising funds, some has been spent, usually using money donated for a specific purpose. For example, the charity has just offered a very successful Easter sports programme for children, using it as a model for a more ambitious summer programme which will introduce young children to a wide variety of sport, arts and leisure activities. The charity is also committed to increasing the skills of local young people by offering training for lifeguards, swimming instructors and sports leaders – which will also help to build more capacity at the centre. New swimming pool lockers and a hairdryer have also been purchased.”

n For more information about the Save the SpArC campaign please see savethesparc facebook page or visit website