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Park pavilion potential for Buckie Radio

By Alan Beresford

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RADIO Buckie are hoping to breathe new life into a disused community building – and are appealing for another community group to join them.

The pavilion at Ian Johnston Park in the town has lain closed for many years and has become a target for vandalism.

However, as it stands on the verge of demolition by Moray Council Buckie Radio could prove a possible saviour.

Trustee Ron Black explained that the Covid-19 pandemic had forced the volunteer-run station into a bit of a rethink.

"We have been based at Buckie Community High School for the last few years where we have a studio with state-of-the-art equipment.

"However, since March due to the Covid pandemic we have been unable to gain access to the studio so we began to think about alternative premises for the station.

"One of the station's long-term volunteers, local businessman Zafar Ali, suggested a few weeks ago that perhaps we should make enquiries about the pavilion, which he had heard was up for demolition. We all thought that it was at least worth investigating, so accompanied by Buckie councillor Tim Eagle and a representative from Moray Council we visited the building.

"Despite certain potential problems we feel the pavilion may prove a worthy, workable future home for Radio Buckie. It could greatly expand what we're able to do and would allow us far greater ease of access."

However, this does not just represent a golden opportunity for Radio Buckie, another community group could also benefit by jumping on board with the station in the bid to breathe new life into what was once an iconic feature of the park.

Mr Black continued: "We would really be looking to get a partner on board to proceed with this.

"There's lots of space here and realistically we'd only need about a third of it.

"We don't really have the resources to run the place ourselves and it would really need to be used as many hours in the week as possible. There's a lot of potential here and as a community radio we want to open this opportunity up.

"As well as giving another group the chance to have their own space it's also an opportunity to share talent, too."

Any group interested in joining forces with Radio Buckie are invited to get in touch with the station's secretary Tam Thomson at TamandJane@hotmail.co.uk, describing who they are and what their hopes and aspirations are.

Welcoming the station's initiative, Councillor Eagle commented: "I am delighted that the group are exploring options for the building.

"I have, since becoming a councillor, been trying to find a group to take on the pavilion which is in a great location in the centre of town.

"I am delighted we might finally have a really community-spirited group interested and I will be working closely with them to make it a success."

Fellow Buckie councillor Sonya Warren commented: "It's always heartening to see community groups look to take on assets for the benefit of the community.

"I look forward to seeing future proposals as they progress and a business case is developed."

Originally formed by Buckie Regeneration group, Radio Buckie has existed in its current form of a charity under the chairmanship of Dr Nick Brown for the past eight years.

While the station does not broadcast live, it has a 24-hour online presence at www.radiobuckie.co.uk including a wide variety of broadcasts and podcasts.

A large quantity of the station's focus is on local culture, history, interests and events but music plays its part, too not least with Playlist for Life, which is similar to Desert Islands Discs.

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