Council pledges one off grant for Waverley paddle steamer

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Published Date: 

3 Nov 2011 - 14:36

Argyll and Bute councillors have agreed one-off grant funding of £15,000 to support one of Scotland’s best-known vessels.


The decision follows a funding plea from Waverley Excursions Ltd in September to all the councils where the famous paddle steamer sails.


The letter stated that without one-off support from those councils which benefit from the Waverley’s visits, the charity would not be able to pay for its winter re-fit this year and the boat would be taken out of commission.


Argyll and Bute Council leader, Councillor Dick Walsh, said that the council’s view in the past has been that its current practice of not imposing either berthing or passenger dues on the Waverley’s trips to Argyll and Bute destinations was equivalent to a substantial financial donation.


“However, it has now become clear that without a one-off cash boost this year, there is a very real danger that we will not see the Waverley in our waters again,” he added.


“This is a unique and much-loved vessel which has served the communities of Argyll and Bute for almost 40 years. 


“As well as being a popular attraction for local people it is also a big draw for visitors to the area, and the thousands of passengers the Waverley carries bring a significant economic boost to Argyll and Bute communities. The impact of its loss would be felt by many across the region.


“We have therefore agreed the one-off funding in recognition of the historical significance of the vessel and the value it has to towns across Argyll and Bute.”


Waverley Excursions Ltd, which has preserved, maintained and operated the paddle steamer on a charitable basis since 1975, has also approached trusts, corporate bodies and individuals for funding.


The charity’s management is currently reviewing its business model with the aim of making funds available on an ongoing basis to ensure the future financial viability of the vessel.


A summary development plan setting out the basis on which the company proposes to operate was provided in support of the funding application.