The Bellman Becomes a Charity

By Jane Cruickshank / September 2, 2020

AUGUST has been a good month for The Bellman, with high visitor numbers and the award of Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, SCIO, status.

Our site statistics show almost 9,000 unique visitors this month – 8915 to be exact. Some 2,800 readers were recorded on August 3 alone, when we published the story ‘Spaces for No People’, highlighting the plight of local businesses who felt the social distancing measures in the town centre were affecting trade.

It is very heartening to see such figures and a steady increase in our reach, which is echoed on our Facebook page.

When a group of people came together some two years ago with the idea to create a news site for Stonehaven, it was felt we needed a period of time to test the waters before creating a formal ownership vehicle.

So until August 10, the relatively low cost project has been privately funded and informally managed. But with our new SCIO status, we can apply for funding to cover on-going costs and improve the site. And we now have a constitution.

What is a SCIO?

A SCIO is a form of charity, unique to Scotland, which comes with limited liabilty. It is one of the ownership options recommended when we took advice from the Kincardineshire Development Partnership and at a workshop run by the National Union of Journalists, looking at hyperlocal news websites.

The Bellman has three trustees – Mike Duncan, who also serves as a community councillor; George Reid, who is well known for his work in the world of distance running, and with the Lions, organising the Feein’ Market and Open Air in the Square; and myself, Jane Cruickshank, a former Mearns Leader reporter.

The Bellman trustees, from left, Jane Cruickshank, Mike Duncan and George Reid

Our constitution states: ”The organisation’s purpose is to advance citizenship or community development through representing and promoting the news, interests and amenities of the community in Stonehaven, South Aberdeenshire by providing a free digital newswebsite.”

It’s All About Sharing News

You may have noticed the strapline. While I try to keep tabs on our community council and our local authority, we do rely on Stonehaven’s clubs, groups and societies to send in their news and events.

Remember – you can now reach up to 9,000 readers each month via The Bellman- email:

We’d also love to publish more videos, photographs and stories about the challenges you undertake as individuals and your achievements – email:

And, now that The Bellman has proved itself, why not think about joining our team – there is so much more that could be achieved if we had more manpower. Again, please email us:

Finally – thank you to everyone who keeps us motivated by clicking on our Facebook links, or visiting our website direct. Stonehaven is a great wee town with much community spirit, which The Bellman aims to reflect.

Jane Cruickshank - September 2, 2020

Thanks Lisa – when the time is right that’ll be great!!

StoneyLisa - September 2, 2020

Well done Jane for all your hard work. I will be back soon

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