Skip main navigation menu

The History of the Aviemore Sports Centre Project


 Aviemore is situated at the base of the Cairngorms plateau and has attracted sporting excellence since it was established in Victorian times. The area boasts above average numbers of Olympians which has been recently recognised with the establishment of a monument in the centre of the village. Sadly, despite considerable investment in winter sports provision, the village and broader Badenoch and Strathspey area has lacked modern day sporting infrastructure that would allow the area to achieve full potential and help to further enhance a centre of sporting excellence. The purpose of the Aviemore Sports Centre Project is to build a community owned and operated sports centre accessible to all that would also support multiple sports to national and international level.

Community Involvement

 The Grampian Province Curling Club came up with the initial idea of developing a sports centre in Aviemore. In October 2007, the group hosted an open community meeting in Aviemore which produced a Steering Group made up of eleven members of the community including a local Councillor, several prominent business people and well known sporting personalities. The group met regularly and made considerable progress in moving the project forward along with commissioning a feasibility study. The project has been built on the foundation that the most important aspect of the project is for it to be community led to develop empowerment of the community through ownership, employment and pride.

The Steering Group held a second community meeting on November 11th 2008 to gather views on the progress of the project. The 130 people who attended the open meeting provided the Steering Group with positive feedback and encouraged the project to proceed. A formal Thank you must go to the Cairngorm Hotel for their support in allowing us to use the function room for the meeting. The Steering Group then produced a questionnaire which was sent to every household in Aviemore and placed in every Post Office in Badenoch and Strathspey. The results of the questionnaire have been collated and used in the feasibility study to help shape the future of the project.

Project Proposal

Young girl ice skatingThe aspiration of the project is to create a sporting infrastructure to support a four court indoor tennis facility which will be capable of hosting national and international competitions while supporting a strong local tennis interest at a junior level and be used for District Training. In addition, a similar capability Ice Arena would be created to support ice hockey, ice skating and curling (there is a curling rink located in Inverness; however it is not large enough to support competition ice hockey). Both areas will have flexible seating which will allow spectators to view the respective areas. A multipurpose sports hall which could be divided into three areas for multiple uses would make up the third main element of the Aviemore Sports Centre. Other aspirations of the centre are to include physio and video analysis rooms and meeting/board room(s) to host meetings, workshops/conferences. All facilities will be designed to be accessible and inclusive to all. It is also envisioned that the outside space could accommodate a skate park, seating and will be developed to promote bio-diversity. The building will be sustainably designed to include modern advances in renewable technology.

Statistical Information

The population of Badenoch and Strathspey, including Aviemore, stands at 12,272 (source General Register of Scotland 2006).   The immediate population of Aviemore, at the 2001 census stood at 2,657.   However, within a one hour drive of Aviemore the population footprint stands at 137,970.   The area is heavily reliant on tourism and boasts 1.84 million bed nights per annum within Badenoch and Strathspey and a total of 5.10 million bed nights per annum within the one hour footprint.   By extending the one hour footprint to include Blair Athol and Pitlochry a further 5,500 can be added to the population figures above and an additional 750,000 bed nights per annum.

Feasibility Study

The proposal to carry out a feasibility study was well received by funding bodies and grants were awarded by the Local Sports Council, The Highland Council; Aviemore Destination Management Organisation; Leader +; and the National Lottery.   The steering group was in a position to engage a suitable consultant, a draft brief had been prepared, and the award of a contract was made.

The Steering Group comes to a Conclusion

 Upon the completion of the feasibility study which was commission by the Steering Group, it was determined that due to the lack of indoor facilities in the Highland of Scotland to support tennis and ice sports the Aviemore Sports Centre Project will focus on developing a facility to support these sports. It is envisioned that the facility would be built to a standard which will allow for national and international competitions. The most important finding of the Steering Group was the need to support the local community and the high number of visitors visiting the area. Particular emphasis will be placed on providing an all inclusive facility which will support low income families, older generations and minority groups within the Badenoch and Strathspey area.

The Way Forward - a Statement from the ASCC Chair Person

The Aviemore Sports Centre Company (ASCC) has been formed and held its inaugural directors meeting on the 11th May 2009. A company limited by guarantee, it has also been set up as a registered charity. This company will oversee the project to build the sports centre and will then run it as a community “not for profit” facility.

CurlingIn addition to members of the steering group becoming directors in the new company, several new enthusiastic local faces have also volunteered. These include a local solicitor, an accountant, a former area manager for a multinational retail chain and a funding specialist. In support we also have a former project manager to guide us and offer technical advice and a professional PA acting as the administration secretary. We are pleased to have attracted such diverse professionals to the team and believe that the high caliber of all the volunteers will ensure the project progresses as envisaged. The in-depth feasibility study commissioned by the original steering group has delivered its final report. The new company has put together a plan of action taking into account its recommendations and has embarked on the main tasks of formally acquiring a site and obtaining the necessary funding to proceed to the next stage and beyond.

 Much work has been undertaken assessing possible sites. Written requests have gone to the landowners of 3 suitable sites asking for formal clarification of what they could offer in terms of size of site and their conditions of acquisition by the company. After much deliberation, discussion and negotiation the group decided to name MAHR as the preferred site.

The ASC launched a competition amongst local youngsters to produce a corporate brand logo for the new company, the results of which were announced at an open afternoon where local sports clubs were given the opportunity to promote themselves. An excellent turnout of about 200 – 250 people came to the Peregrine Suite where we were entertained by the local Cheer Leaders who gave a demonstration. The prize giving followed, with the Aviemore primary school with the most finalists receiving vouchers to buy Sport Equipment and a huge bag of tennis equipment kindly donated by Tennis Scotland and Tennis Scotland President Christine Lawrie was there to present this prize. Other prizes were given out in the shape of sports vouchers to Ben Bremner from Aviemore Primary School, Jack Doherty from Carrbridge Primary School, Grace Franks from Aviemore Primary School and the winner, Calum Bremner from Grantown Primary School also received a day with the design house to turn his drawing into a digital logo which we will put onto merchandise for sale shortly and the Logo is visible on each page of the website.

Since taking over the Project the Company has prepared layouts for this new website (which has been professionally designed) and is setting up visits to view (and meet officials of) other community run and commercial projects.

We sent off two funding applications for the pre-development phase of the project, (Awards of All and People’s Postcode Trust have both awarded us just under £10,000 each), we have written our Mission Statement and written an initial letter to go to the major funders to test the water. Written policies to have in place, employed a company to help with our Development plan, bought promotional material and are currently looking to find an office.

So this is where we are, and by summer 2010 we hope to be able to say we have negotiated enough funding to employ a company to take over and have some drawings for you all to look at.

At this point the Steering group and Company would like to thank all the funders, Badenoch and Strathspey Sports Council, Badenoch and Strathspey Council, DMO, Leader and the Lottery Investing in Ideas, Community Land unit, Awards for All and People’s Postcode Trust for their help in funding the Project to this stage. Without such help it would not have been possible to have completed the first stage of this very exciting project.

If you would like to help we are looking for the community to volunteer a day of their time to help us raise funds, please feel free to contact Yvonne who is Chair of the Project.
For information please contact Yvonne Birnie on 0771 131 8016 or email

« Back

Get Involved

Become an associate member, advertise with us, or volunteer for an event...


Upcoming Events

Find out about events taking place throughout the year in support of the project.


Got a Business?

Reach even more potential customers and show your support for the project.

Funding from Awards for All Funding from People's Postcode Trust Support from Cairngorms National Park Support from TalkTalk

© 2018 Aviemore Sports Centre Project, Registered Office: 10 Dellmhor, Aviemore PH22 1QW. Tel: 07711 318016. Email: | Privacy Policy
Registered Company Limited by Guarantee No: SC354119, Registered Charity No: SC040474