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Messy Nessy among Highland soft play centres to receive top-up grants


By Alan Hendry

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Fiona and Ian Carlisle outside Messy Nessy in Rotterdam Street, Thurso. Piocture: Mel Roger
Fiona and Ian Carlisle outside Messy Nessy in Rotterdam Street, Thurso. Piocture: Mel Roger

Messy Nessy in Thurso is one of a number of soft play centres across the Highland Council area to receive top-up grants in recognition of the restrictions they have faced through much of the pandemic.

Payments of between £3500 and £5000, totalling £29,500, have been handed out to eight indoor centres depending on the rateable value of their premises.

Ian and Fiona Carlisle, who own Messy Nessy in Thurso's Rotterdam Street, say they are grateful to be receiving a £3500 grant.

"We are glad to be open – the local support has been fantastic and very much appreciated," Mrs Carlisle said.

"The top-up grant will certainly help get us through the quieter days, as the summer months can be hard for our industry, and ease some of the financial burden due to being closed for so long."

The council has delivered the grant scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The local authority said in a statement: "Although the number of affected businesses is small, Highland Council is pleased that the Scottish Government has recognised the continuing difficulty these businesses have experienced with the restrictions in place on the number of young people who can use the facility at any one time."

Messy Nessy reopened in early June as Highland went down to level one Covid-19 restrictions.

Soft-play centres across Scotland had to shut in March last year because of the pandemic. Messy Nessy was able to start up in November but was forced to close again at the end of December as restrictions were tightened.

At the time of the restart, Mr and Mrs Carlisle said they were overwhelmed with the support they were receiving from the public and they had been inundated with bookings and enquiries.

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