Recovery funding boost for Banff and Macduff
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The twin towns of Banff and Macduff have been awarded £10,000 each to help them recover from the economic impact of coronavirus.
The Town Centre Phoenix Fund was launched by Aberdeenshire Council to provide financial support for collaborative business-led projects and help relaunch economies.
The one-off grant scheme is designed to help the region’s town centres bounce back after lockdown and the subsequent restrictions.
Banff and Macduff Phoenix Fund Working Group made a joint application to provide assistance for the towns.
The money was secured by the working group which is made up of representatives from Banff and Macduff Community Council; Banff and Macduff Area Business Forum and the Rotary Club of Banff, which said they are appreciative of the council’s support and are positive the funding can help make a start on recovery objectives.
The working group will now work alongside other organisations, individuals and businesses to begin the process of delivering the project’s goals to showcase the towns, increase footfall and improve public perception and awareness of the area.
Phoenix Fund Working Group member Lynn MacKinnon said: “This is good news for the towns.
“We had a number of discussions with businesses, community groups and individuals from both towns over the past few months and collated the feedback and prepared the fund application based on these discussions.”
One of the main objectives is to create an online presence for the towns, which will in turn provide a central focal point for coordinating information about existing activities and opportunities in the area.
Another is to compile an events programme aimed both at visitors and local residents and encourage participation and coordination of events.
A marketing strategy will be also be instigated to promote the towns.
The group also hopes to be able to improve aesthetics in the communities by adding artwork and seating.
The economic impact on the two town centres following the Covid-19 pandemic included loss of income during lockdown; difficulties related to reopening of businesses and community groups; lack of footfall in the town centres and concerns over future income.
Councillor Glen Reynolds, chairman of the Banff Development Partnership, said: "As chairman of the Banff Development Partnership, and as a proud Banff Rotarian, with the club helping to bring this project to fruition, I would like to congratulate the Phoenix Fund Working Group along with Lynn MacKinnon and others in our business community, for securing this funding which will stimulate an early town centre response to the pandemic.
"Much needed partnership work has taken place to coordinate concerns and ideas from local stakeholders.
"This start-up work and funding will act as a springboard to market, highlight and promote businesses, organisations and events that will have a key community-driven role in our twin towns during, and after the impact of Covid.
"Nothing can replace personal tragedies that are continuing to occur during the pandemic, but this is a great example of what we can do as a local response and a testament to our drive and ambition for communities and businesses who need help, and for generations to come – not least for the bairns who will be so impacted by what is happening to their lifetime journeys, right now and before our eyes.
"It is a good initiative for the people of the twin towns, good for business and good for growth, all of which demonstrates the resilience of Banff and Macduff to fight back.
"The twin towns are open for business and open to projects such as that demonstrated by the Phoenix fund. We shall rise from the ashes, stronger and in good shape."
Councillor Ross Cassie, chairman of the Macduff Development Partnership, said: "I am delighted with the Phoenix Fund Grant. As we move forward as a society towards recovery from the Covid-19 health emergency it is vital we have funds that assist our towns to recover.
"The work being carried out by the Banff and Macduff Phoenix Fund Working Group is vital for our communities as we all progress to a better place post Covid."