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Funding approved for Newburgh Village Public Hall

By Kyle Ritchie

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A north-east group will receive a funding boost from Aberdeenshire Council following approval from councillors.

Newburgh Village Public Hall trustees had applied to the Formartine area committee budget for £2925.

Substantial refurbishment works have been carried out at the hall, however the group is now looking to install PV solar panels and battery storage to make the building more self-sufficient.

Newburgh Village Public Hall will use the funding to install solar panels.
Newburgh Village Public Hall will use the funding to install solar panels.

It is estimated that the purchase and installation of the solar panels and battery storage will cost the trustees a total of £18,925.

The application was considered and unanimously agreed by the Formartine area committee at its recent meeting.

Committee chairwoman, councillor Isobel Davidson, welcomed the application and said: “The trustees have done such a huge amount of work on the hall. It’s quite innovative having solar panels and batteries, it’s a great solution and I absolutely support this project.

“We really do need to congratulate them on the work that they have done on the hall, it has been tremendous.”

An extensive refurbishment of the venue was completed in May after being first mooted in 2016.

The first phase of work made the building more accessible this included installing a ramp at the entrance; moving the main door from the side of the building to where it was originally at the front of the hall; widening the corridors for wheelchair access; new toilets and air source heat pumps.

The second phase focused on energy efficiency; the whole hall was insulated, LED lighting was installed throughout; new glazing fitted in the windows; and the back hall and kitchen were reconfigured to make it more usable.

To fund the project the village held a number of fundraising events.

The organising committee was also successful in securing grants. In early January it received £100,000 from the Scottish Government's Community Climate Asset Fund, which enabled phase two to progress.

Last summer, the group was successful in receiving funding of £90,000 that allowed it to complete the works in phase one.

The money came from a mix of developer obligations, a grant from the Robertson Trust and local fundraising within the village. It also received a small development grant from the Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund.

Furthermore the group received nearly £14,000 from the Vattenfall Unlock Our Future Fund for the installation of a new air-source heat pump system.

Off the back of the funding for the hall, a new group, Newburgh Aberdeenshire Climate Action, has been formed in the village, which is looking at ways in which the community can combat climate change.

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