Youth help clean-up Strichen Town House

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IN preparation for Strichen Town House’s open day last weekend, and a visit by local MP, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, a group of tweenies and teens turned out with brushes and bin liners to clean up the property.

As members of the Anchor Boys, Army Cadet Force, Boys Brigade, Guides and Strichen’s Hub, the youngsters were setting a fine example of how a community can pull together in a time of need.

Paula Sturdy of Strichen Development Group said: “I really hope our local kids inspired the grown-ups to go along to the open day to find out what the fuss was all about.”

The town house is currently the subject of an appraisal by Aberdeenshire County Council to see whether Strichen folk can demonstrate how this building can once again play a major part in community life.

Unbeknown to many, the building has passed from parish councils to Banff and Buchan Council and finally to Aberdeenshire Council. So unless the people of Strichen can come up with a viable plan of how the building can be returned to the ownership of the community, and with a feasible commercial future, it is possible that the community could lose all rights to use the building and the bells would ring no more.

The youngsters have helped out, along with the adult members of Strichen Development Group, to put up posters and deliver leaflets around the village promoting the open day.

They have also picked up litter and helped clear out cupboards and rooms in the town house which were basically abandoned in the late 2000s when the council advised that much of the building was no longer fit for purpose.

“The problem with mothballing an old building like this is that it creates more problems than it solves with the cold and damp taking its toll,” said Paula.

Now though, with renewed interest and a need to help Strichen thrive in the 21st century, the community group hopes to make use of the downstairs common room over the coming winter and during the forthcoming period of consultation and restoration for the remainder of the building.

The open day, which was held on Saturday, showcased historical displays, appraisal information from the NESPT and Aberdeenshire Council, and gave residents the opportunity to relive memories and give their ideas for the future of the building.