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Aberdeenshire groups share in National Lottery funding boost

By David Porter

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Community groups in Aberdeenshire including the local hall in Aberchirder are sharing in some good news after a cash boost from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Improving Lives Fund.

Aberchirder Hall Chairman Claus Neilsen welcomed the announcement. Picture: Kirsty Brown
Aberchirder Hall Chairman Claus Neilsen welcomed the announcement. Picture: Kirsty Brown

Aberchirder Village Hall were recipients of £10,000 which the group will use to pay for replacement cast iron guttering to protect their newly refurbished hall from water ingress that would damage the fabric of the building.

Chairman Claus Nielsen said: "We have been lucky to get back-to-back funding from the National Lottery fund which we really appreciate.

"This has been a massive boost to our fundraising campaign which will see our village hall completely transformed within the next 12 months.

"The funding has been spent on replacing some of the original cast iron guttering and downpipes; and restoration – sandblasting, repairing and painting – of original items, which are no longer available.

"The carried out work will help preserve our village hall for many years to come but is also only a small part of a wider renovation project which is currently taking place."

Gordon Rural Action were recipients of one of the largest awards of a total of £157,756 from the Improving Lives Fund.

This award will help the group continue to run and expand their advice hub where people can access impartial information as well as practical support particularly surrounding financial hardship.

Emma Selway-Grant, chief operating officer said: "We are delighted to have been successful and look forward to utilising the fund to increase the provisions of the Hub and continue to support people in the surrounding areas."

Friends of People First in Fraserburgh also received £10,000 which they will use to continue to run their drop-in groups for adults with learning difficulties in Fraserburgh.

Over in Alford , the Alford Valley Community Railway were awarded £10,000 which will be put towards the renovation of the local station house as a space for community meetings, events, a café and hire for social events.

An award of £149,551 means that Community Food Initiatives North East Limited (CFINE) will recruit a Volunteer Development Worker and create a development plan for up to 900 local volunteers who will gain valuable experience working across all of their services.

Fiona Rae, CEO, CFINE, said: “We are delighted to be awarded funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

"This funding will ensure that we can strengthen and build upon the existing opportunities and experiences available to people across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

"The funding will support people to maximise resilience and increase confidence, leading to, skill acquisition, improved social networks and a sense of self-worth and purpose”

Thanks to an award of £150,000, Workers Education Association (WEA) will be able to continue their ‘Reach Out’ programme for another two years.

Clare Harper, WEA Area Education Manager for NE Scotland, said:” This funding will enable us to offer a range of activities to some of the most vulnerable people in many cases made so much worse through the social isolation of COVID-19.

“National Lottery players have made it possible for us to get people outside, into the ’great outdoors’ – through our walking group, environmental art, residentials and gardening, alongside learning digital skills, football, cooking and art. We know we can make a real difference to the lives of many people; a huge thank you!

The National Lottery Community Fund, Scotland Chair, Kate Still: said: “National Lottery funding continues to make amazing things happen in local communities right across Scotland.

“I am delighted that this funding is reaching across Aberdeenshire, supporting projects that have been developed by and for local people.

"National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is helping to support this vital work.

"The National Lottery Community Fund distributes funding on behalf of National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.

"Thanks to National Lottery players, last year we awarded over half a billion pounds (£588.2 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK.

"Over eight in ten (83 per cent) of our grants are for under £10,000 – going to grassroots groups and charities across the UK that are bringing to life amazing ideas that matter to their communities. "

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