The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald is launching a campaign calling for the reopening of Auchenharvie Ice Rink.

Along with speed skaters, figure skaters, curlers and hockey players, the A&S Herald understands the importance of getting back on the ice and the unfairness of the rink being filled with fitness equipment instead.

Every week we're going to be sharing stories from all of you who use the rink - showing that it is not just somewhere to keep fit and train for competitions, but a community hub for all ages. To share why the ice is important to you click here.

Kirsty Massie, the media officer for North Ayrshire Ice Hockey Club, whose son plays ice hockey said: “All we are asking for is that Harvies open in line with all other rinks and September would be amazing.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

“Our kids need back on the ice, for their mental heath and wellbeing as well as their physical health.

“We would welcome a meeting with KA leisure to discuss our plans for a safe return to the ice and the guidelines our governing body has put in place but so far there has been no response from them.”

On July 17, members of ice sport clubs who use the rink at the Auchenharvie Leisure Centre in Stevenston were shocked to receive an email from the centre operators, KA Leisure.

The letter explained that a decision had been made for the rink to remain closed until next year, with the space instead being used to house fitness equipment.

READ MORE: Sporting community calls for u-turn on decision to keep Auchenharvie Centre ice rink closed

KA Leisure cited the lack of government guidance on the reopening of ice rinks as one reason for the decision, but also referenced the financial cost.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

The ice community launched a petition calling for a u-turn which now has 8,813 signatures.

On July 30, the First Minister announced an indicative date of Monday, September 14, for the reopening of indoor sport courts, including ice rinks.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We don’t want these restrictions to be in place a minute longer than we judge to be necessary but, for now, indoor ice rinks must remain closed as they involve prolonged close social contact which increases the chance of infection spreading.

“We’d like to thank ice rink owners and their customers for their patience at this challenging time.”

READ MORE: Saltcoats figure skater swaps the ice for the shore front

A KA Leisure spokesperson said: “This is a hugely challenging time for the leisure industry across the UK and we are no different here in North Ayrshire.

“While we are now able to safely resume some of our services, unfortunately this is not currently possible for all our leisure and recreational facilities.

“We sympathise with those who are disappointed that not all of these activities are currently available – we also want to see our services open.

“Until then, we are awaiting government guidance which will allow us to plan the resumption of these services safely although we recognise this is a very real challenge which needs to take into account physical distancing, increased hygiene measures and any staffing guidance agreed between the sporting bodies and Public Health Scotland.

“In addition to the operational challenges the pandemic has also created significant financial challenges, with a revenue gap of £2.8million predicted during the current financial year. This has necessitated some difficult decisions relating to temporary revised service provision to ensure longer term charitable sustainability.”

“Our groups and users should be assured that we continue to work with partners at North Ayrshire Council on our future plans and will make announcements as soon as it is possible to do so.”

Share your memories and photos of being on the ice here.