A plan to re-open the former Dr Bell’s Swimming Pool as a Himalayan Centre has taken a huge step forwards after the project won a £255,837 grant. The funding is from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund and is for “a low carbon, sustainable arts and culture centre which will focus on climate initiatives and includes plans for a coffee shop and restaurant.”
The former pool building was sold by the council to the Nepali Association Scotland last year. The group, which has historically met in Leith, at the Masonic Club at Shrubhill, raised much of the funds for the initial purchase of the building from private donations.
Nevertheless, when the council handed the building over, the new owners estimated that they would need to raise around £300,000 to re-open it for community use, with plans that will see the historic swimming pool where many Leithers of a certain age learned to swim removed. The existing, somewhat decrepit, roof may also be replaced with one which is more energy efficient and able to harvest rainwater for use in the building.
For the first time, the Climate Challenge Fund has backed projects that are income generating, and so it is hoped that the new community space, once established will be self-sustaining by raising money from the cafe, as well as cultural events in the building.
We’d like to congratulate everyone at the Himalayan Centre for successfully getting this funding in – and helping to bring one of Leith’s most well loved buildings back to life.
To find out more go to: http://www.himalayancentre.org