Society buys the Garioch Heritage Centre

The Garioch Heritage Society has announced that it has completed the purchase of the Heritage Centre premises on Inverurie’s Loco Works Road.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 6:00 am
After a lot of hard work, the Society is now the proud owners of the Garioch Heritage Centre in Inverurie

Having secured a substantial grant from the Scottish Land Fund towards the cost of buying the premises it occupies, and because the landlord was incredibly generous in accepting an offer miles below the cost incurred in converting the space for use, it is now the proud and grateful owners of the Garioch Heritage Centre.

For many years Society members dreamed of finding a space where our growing collections of artefacts and information could be made available to all.

After a lot of hard work and determination the Society took a major step forward when it opened the Garioch Heritage Centre in 2017.

Over the first three years of operating the Heritage Centre the Society received no regular public funding whatsoever, the centre was reliant on support from members and centre visitors to help meet costs, and on the landlord for providing the building rent-free.

Ownership will allow the Society to develop the facilities on offer, host events and attract a wide range of nationally important exhibitions, most of which require a fixed lease or ownership as a prerequisite.

Colin Wood, Chair of the Garioch Heritage Society, said: “I would like to thank all the Society members, supporters and volunteers who have put so much work into securing this major achievement. The Centre already makes a hugely important contribution to life in Inverurie and the Garioch area but has hitherto relied on a hefty annual subsidy from the Society’s reserves.

“Those reserves have now been depleted but we have a wonderful asset and a comprehensive business plan for the long-term development of the Centre as a community hub, an education resource, a heritage centre, and a visitor attraction.

“We are incredibly grateful to Malcolm Allan Housebuilders for making our heritage centre part of their plans for the redevelopment of the former Inverurie Loco Works, and for the effort and craftsmanship that went into creating the facilities. The B-listed building which now houses our collections is an important part of the history of the area and provides the perfect space to showcase exhibits which tell the past, present and future story of the Garioch.

“We will continue to offer access to our collections, alongside the popular Café Loco and our meeting, exhibition and library facilities.”

He continued: “Ownership is just our new starting point. We now need to put our development plan into action and transform the Garioch Heritage Centre into a financially viable operation with a long-term future.

“We will now work towards museum accreditation and greater recognition as a regional tourist attraction. It is up to all of us who care about preserving and sharing the rich history of the Garioch to make it happen. We have achieved so much already that I know we can do it!”

Victoria Withy, Chair of Inverurire Business Association added: “I am delighted, the GHC team have worked long and hard for this and the result is testament to their dedication and passion for preserving and sharing local heritage and history, and for our town. They can now make the Centre even more of a success and the key visitor attraction for Inverurie.”