Work begins at long-awaited centre site

MACBI SOD CUTTING (Neil Willox Photography): MACBI Chairman Norman Smith (center) cuts the first sod on the new community center with L-R: John Pascoe (MACBI Director), Willie McWhirr (ex MACBI chairman), Julie Anderson (MACBI Director), Alan Burns (MACBI Director), David Barron (Macbi Dirrector).
MACBI SOD CUTTING (Neil Willox Photography): MACBI Chairman Norman Smith (center) cuts the first sod on the new community center with L-R: John Pascoe (MACBI Director), Willie McWhirr (ex MACBI chairman), Julie Anderson (MACBI Director), Alan Burns (MACBI Director), David Barron (Macbi Dirrector).

A long-awaited £2million project to build a community centre for Central Buchan at Mintlaw is set to get under way this month.

The Mintlaw and Central Buchan Initiative (MACBI) - which was established in 2005 by local people with the aim of improving facilities for leisure and recreation in Central Buchan - has secured an investment of £250,000 from sportscotland which will finally allow the project to start.

The new centre is to be located next to Mintlaw Academy and will provide a large mulit-purpose sports hall, fitness centre, meeting rooms and changing facilities.

It will also become a key focus for the area’s Community Sport Hub.

The Community Sport Hub initiative is a key component of sportscotland’s contribution to the Scottish Government’s 2014 legacy plan, and provides an exciting and innovative approach to the development of sport in local clubs.

Based in local places such as club pavillions, sports centres, community centres, the natural environment, and with at least 50 per cent in schools, the hubs bring local people together and provide a home for the local clubs and sports organisations.

They also provide information, support and advice on a wide range of sports and physical activities.

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland said: “We are delighted to be supporting this fantastic community project and hope that this facility will help to encourage more children and young people to take up sport.

“The centre will allow Mintlaw Community Sport Hub to start developing and will play a key role in helping to increase access to sport for the whole community. sportscotland is committed to developing 150 hubs across all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities by 2016 and we are delighted to see another hub starting to progress.”

In addition to the investment from sportscotland, funding for the centre has also come from Aberdeenshire Council, the Scottish Rural Development Programme, The Robertson Trust and fundraising efforts.

Norman Smith, Chairperson of the MACBI Board, said: “It is fair to say it has taken real determination to get us to this stage and despite several setbacks along the way, we were determined to keep going until we secured all the necessary funding.”

The centre will host a range of activites from keep fit, dance and martial arts to drama, music and interest groups as well as concerts, conferences and exhibitions.