Published: 09/01/2018 09:30 - Updated: 09/01/2018 09:24

Snowman rallies behind £4 million Haven Appeal

Written byVal Sweeney

The Snowman Rally gets underway on SaturdaySPECTATORS at a high-profile motorsport event will be urged to get behind an ambitious appeal to develop Scotland’s first integrated centre for children and young adults with multiple and complex needs.

The annual Snowman Rally, which this year takes place in Inverness on February 10, has adopted the Haven Appeal as its charity this .

Various activities and collections are expected to bring in thousands of pounds towards the £4 million fundraising drive to develop the specialist centre on a site in Smithton, Inverness.

The appeal was launched by the Elsie Normington Foundation and is also being backed by the Inverness Courier as a way of marking the newspaper’s 200th anniversary.

The Snowman Rally, inaugurated in 1955, is organised by the Highland Car Club and attracts thousands of fans.

Clerk of the course Andy Jardine explained why the club had chosen to back the Haven Appeal.

“We recognised it was a new fundraising effort in the city,” he said. “We thought it was important for an event like the Snowman Rally to give its support and get some publicity for the appeal – it doesn’t have the same profile as some of the bigger charities.

“This is a way of getting it into people’s faces.”

About 100 drivers from all over Scotland as well as England, Wales and Ireland will be testing their motoring skills during the event.

All competitors have been given the option of making a donation to the charity and there will also be chances for the public to give money.

“On the morning of the event, there will be a ceremonial start in Inverness High Street between 9am and 10.30am when volunteers from the charity will be out in force taking advantage of the crowds and they will also set up a stall,” Mr Jardine said.

The charity will also run one of the event car parks at the Meallmore spectator area at Daviot, south of Inverness. There will be a £5 fee per car, with all the money going to the appeal.

The rally will cover 200 miles, of which 43 will be in forests around the Inverness area. The route will take in Daviot, the Black Isle, Kiltarlity and Contin.

The Haven Appeal has raised £940,000 so far and it is hoped the money collected via the rally will help it reach the £1 million milestone.

The proposed Haven Centre will be for children and young people up to the age of 30 with multiple and complex needs and will provide support to people locally and further afield within the Highlands.

It will provide much-needed respite care and provision, a community cafe, play centres, meeting rooms and offices plus a community garden.

The centre is to be built on a site in Murray Road which was previously occupied by Culloden Court Nursing Home before being destroyed by a fire in 2010.

The project has already secured backing from Highland Council which has given the foundation a three-year option to acquire the site. Other partners are Direct Childcare, which will provide the child care in the specialist play centres, and Key Community Supports, which has wide experience in housing support, short breaks and community support to adults with learning difficulties.

The appeal received a major boost just before Christmas when the Robertson Trust, Scotland’s largest independent grant-making trust, awarded it £380,000.

Andy Grzesinski, chairman of the Haven Appeal, said the support of the organisers of the Snowman Rally was another huge boost.

“We are absolutely thrilled that the appeal will benefit from fund-raising activities at such a major sporting event as the Snowman Rally,” he said. “This will help greatly in our drive towards our fundraising target of £4 million.

“We are almost a quarter of the way already so we are off to a great start. We wish all the drivers and their support teams and spectators a successful event next month. It is so good that they are helping children and young people who deserve our help the most.”

- To donate to the appeal, visit www.enfoundation.co.uk

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