UNDER pressure Inverclyde Leisure face a double blow as they fork out thousands of pounds to fix their Waterfont ice rink and furlough 80 staff.

It is the latest setback in a tough year for the trust, which was forced to halt certain services once again as restrictions were imposed under tier three of the government's coronavirus rules regime.

Bosses are already facing loses of more than £1 million as a result of Covid-19 and the council has had to step in to plug the gaps.

David McCorkindale, IL's head of leisure and community facilities, said: "Due to unforeseen issues with the ice plant during lockdown period we have had to replace two new motors to the compressor units in the ice plant, at an estimated cost of around £30k.

"Inverclyde Leisure would like to clarify that curling would not be permitted at the moment under the level three restrictions.

"We have been working closely with the contractors and Inverclyde Council property services to ensure a speedy repair which will allow us to return to curling and skating."

Mr McCorkindale also confirmed that IL had been forced to use the UK Government's scheme to help keep its workforce intact.

He told the Tele: "As part of the recent government announcement delaying the job support scheme (JSS) and extending the furlough scheme (CJRS) throughout the UK until March, Inverclyde Leisure have taken the business decision to furlough employees that have been impacted by the level three restrictions."

Under the current protection level IL continues to offer individual swims, gym access and swimming lessons.

But with the district remaining in tier three, the trust has had to cancel 60 fitness classes a week and its indoor bowling centre is shut.

With no indoor adult sports permitted there are no bookings for the likes of five-a-side football and the Inverclyde Masters swimming club are not permitted to operate at present.

Town halls and community centres are also out of action for what is usually a busy time of year with functions and festive parties.

Crawfurdsburn Community Centre has been transferred back to Inverclyde Council for a six month period as it hosts a UK Government Covid-19 test centre.