Burst water pipes have hampered a specialist health facility’s ability to return to service amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Extensive damage was caused over the weekend to the charity-run Oxygen Works base in Inverness.
A few days after vandals left a trail of damage outside the building, a flood emanating from the building’s roof destroyed computer gear and affected electrical links to vital equipment including the only oxygen chamber in the central Highlands.
The alarm was raised by a sharp-eyed Neighbourhood Watch representative, who alerted the emergency services.
The facility normally treats about 5000 clients per year for a range of predominantly neurological conditions including Multiple Sclerosis.
Barely a tenth of that number have benefited from the centre in the past year due to the impact of the coronavirus lockdowns.
The specialist treatment offered is sometimes referred to as hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Expressing gratitude to people who reported details of the flooding on social networks, Beth Morrison, The Oxygen Works operations manager, said: “We will need help to try to get back up as soon as possible, once we’ve had an insurance inspection.
“We’re in a state of shock and establishing what the rebuild process will involve.
“All the office information has been destroyed but fortunately backed up, so that should be salvageable.
“We don’t have any idea of the timescales yet. We’ll need a new ceiling and possibly a new floor, which will take time.”
She added: “We’d initially been closed for five months at the start of the lockdown, last year, but had managed to reopen in August and had been building things back up, ensuring we had the necessary safety measures in place to protect our clients so they could still access the services.”
The charity was unable to indicate when the facility would be fully operational or what would most speed up the process.
However, it suggested that any fundraising efforts through the popular Kiltwalk charity event would be gratefully received.
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country