Community projects get a big boost

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More than half a million pounds has been secured by community projects across the North-east.

Schemes at Methlick and Balmedie are among nine to receive grants from the rural Aberdeenshire LEADER Programme, which is financed by the European Commission and Scottish Government.

Nearly £120,000 has been awarded to Balmedie Leisure Centre for a new cafe and entrance, while just over £22,000 has been targeted at a revamp of Methlick play park.

Lee Scott, Balmedie Leisure Centre project co-ordinator, said the centre was absolutely delighted to have secured the funding.

He added: “This grant will enable the centre to not only put in place a much-needed new front entrance but also create a real heart to the village by adding a modern and vibrant cafe which will be a focal point for everyone in our community.”

James Hall, from the Methlick play park project, said: “The grant means a huge amount to our local Methlick community and now puts us on target to start building in April.

“The timing is also perfect as we had a village Christmas disco for children of all ages and raised a further £600. The reaction to confirmation of funding from across the community is very humbling and further cements why we are undertaking this project. The perfect Christmas cheer for the village.”

In addition, £20,000 has been awarded from the Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund (AEFF) to the Energetica project which aims to deliver a coastal pathway linking traditional fishing villages around Collieston, Cruden Bay and Slains Castle.

Funds have also been allocated to Aberdeenshire Council which could eventually improve broadband delivery.

The scheme will also support the Wilderness Foundation programme in Aberdeenshire, which gives young people hands-on skills in rural industries.