Community Action on Leisure Needs

By Jane Cruickshank / May 14, 2023
scrabble board with sport do it and partially obscured yourself!

IF Stonehaven wants new leisure amenities, then a community group needs to form to pursue funding – such was the conclusion at this week’s meeting of the community council.

Other towns in the Shire are frequently cited as having better sports facilities than Stonehaven. But, at Tuesday’s meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council, members heard this was often due to the efforts of residents.

Garioch Sports Centre is a registered Scottish charity, Huntly and District Development Trust has a community-led place plan aimed at, ”ambitious, coordinated, high-quality development of learning and leisure facilities;” and Banchory Sports Village Trust were responsible for £700,000 of community fundraising towards their £8.5 million sports venue.

Meeting with LiveLive Aberdeenshire

The importance of community action emerged when Chairman David Lawman was reporting on a meeting with officers of LiveLife Aberdeenshire about value for money concerns raised over the £1.4 million cost of on an extension at the leisure centre – together with a PAMIS changing places toilet and windows to the swimming pool.

Mr Lawman noted his disappointment that the LLA officers refused to allow Sports Hub representative Jackie Bruce to attend the meeting with him.

”I thought that was a poor show by them,” he said.

He said LLA saw the participatory budgeting process as a success and they were disappointed there were complaints a year after the event.

Moving forward

But, he said, the officers made it clear they would be delighted to help any community group that formed to take forward Stonehaven’s aspirations for better sports amenities.

Cllr Sarah Dickinson said: ”The reality is the community can lay its hands on money the council simply can’t access.”

Mrs Dickinson said there were large funding sources available to community groups, and noted the success in Huntly and Banchory.

She added: ” Look at this court building, we can do it!”

Jim Stephen recoginsed the success of Banchory’s community efforts.

He said: ”We need to get a community group together.”

Mr Lawman concluded the discussions saying the matter would be raised at the next meeting of the local place plan steering group.