A Peterhead church is celebrating after securing a £60,000 grant for the installation of a lift.
Apex Church, based in Chapel Street, received the funding boost from the SITA Trust following a grant application earlier this year.
At the time of applying for the cash lifeline the church team was struggling with poor access to its recently refurbished halls and rooms.
While there are a number of church halls in Peterhead there are no other facilities comparable to this one which could cope with the numbers that use it at any one time.
Its location, in the centre of the town’s regeneration area and a short distance from the harbour area also makes it a real resource for local people.
In a series of improvements undertaken recently by the church, the upper section of the building has been renovated to a high standard and is now suitable for a huge range of functions including meetings, clubs and conferences. The lower hall and kitchen area were also recently refurbished and used daily.
However the building is not the most accessible, with the internal stairway between the two areas being accessed via a kitchen area and very steep. The other option for community users not wishing to navigate through a hot working kitchen or climb mountainous stairs is to leave the building, pass two busy roads and re-access through another entrance up yet more steps. Clearly not an ideal scenario, particularly for the large groups of children and
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elderly people who regularly use the facility for a variety of activities.
The £60,000 grant funding will go towards the installation of an elevator and improve the accessibility within the building for the benefit of all users.
Members of Apex congregation were told the glad tidings at their annual general meeting on Wednesday night.
Pastor Neil Cameron said that the total cost of the project would be in the region of £90,000 and thanks to the hard work of church member Margaret Baird, helped by Assistant Pastor Daniel Sutherland, some £85,400 had been secured in funding.
Along with the SITA grant, £15,000 has come from The Robertson Trust, £5,000 from the Baird Trust, £3,000 from the Aberdeenshire Area Initiatives Fund, £1,000 from The Joseph Rank Trust and a further £1,400 from Allchurches Trust Ltd.
“It’s thanks to the hard work of Margaret and Daniel that this project has been made possible,” he told the gathering.
“I have nothing but the highest of praise for Margaret - she is a hero who’s deligence and faithfulness has secured these funds, while Daniel has been phenomenal. The two of them have been absolute stars and have been working on this for more than a year now, pulling it all together.”
Work on the installation of the lift is due to get underway later this month with the project set to be completed by the end of November.
Meanwhile, Pastor Sutherland told the Buchanie: “We are grateful for the contribution SITA Trust have made towards our project. Their support has made this project possible and will improve accessibility for community users who visit our building.”
Jools Granville of SITA Trust added “There is no suitable access to the upper floor for those with pushchairs, in wheelchairs or who find stairs an issue.
“In an area with a real need for a community facility that can be used by all members of the community, regardless of age or ability, something had to be done and we are delighted that we are able to provide financial support”.
Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford, who was supportive of the grant application, said: ““I congratulate all at Apex Church on their fantastic achievement in securing such a generous share of funding from the SITA Trust. This amount of money is a welcome investment in the local community.”