Renewed plea for volunteers ahead of reopening at Wick caravan site
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A fresh plea has been made for volunteers to rally round at Wick's caravan and camping site with just a few days to go before the first tourists arrive.
The facility is being given a new lease of life by Wick Development Trust after terms were agreed with Highland Council for the lease, and it will open to guests from Monday.
A limited number of volunteers responded to a request to give a helping hand last Saturday and Sunday on tasks such as tidying, cleaning, painting, weeding, grass-cutting, planting flowers and erecting signs.
However, those behind the venture say they would welcome further assistance this weekend at the renamed Wick River Campsite.
The site will operate as a community enterprise, with profits ultimately going towards local regeneration projects.
Trust chairman Jonathan Miller is asking the public to look at the "bigger picture" in terms of the benefits it will bring.
"Monday is the day that we are planning to open – that's when the first paying guests arrive," he said.
"There will be people on site the rest of this week and this weekend trying to get all the other bits and pieces finished off, so we would welcome any volunteers to help at the weekend.
"Obviously any work done on the caravan park will directly benefit the guests of the caravan park. But the bigger picture is the impact it will have – over time, of course – on projects in and around Wick.
"It will take a while to get to that stage, certainly not this year. But that's the long-term goal, so the trust can be self-sufficient and finance its own projects around the town."
Mr Miller acknowledged that poor weather, in particular high winds, may have been a factor in the modest turnout of helpers last weekend.
"We had maybe three on Saturday and three or four on Sunday," he said. But he added: "Parts of this place have been transformed in the last few weeks."
He pointed out that the site is being well supported by the local business community.
"A lot of businesses have been willing to support us and come along and do bits and pieces for us and donate materials," Mr Miller said.
Highland Council had been seeking new operators after the couple who had run the site for the past 15 years decided to retire.
Wick is on the North Coast 500 route and the caravan site is a key part of the local tourism sector.
Wick Development Trust has launched a new Facebook page and website and bookings are being taken through Pitchup.com until a new booking system is up and running. Last week Mr Miller said bookings had been "flooding in".