Fishermen’s Mission get a 12-month reprieve

PETERHEAD’s under-threat Fishermen’s Mission has been granted a 12-month reprieve.

The vital harbourside facility was set to move from its current location following concern over spiralling running costs.

Negotiations for the sale of the fishermen’s charity, which has been a regular feature on the town’s Union Street for more than 30 years, proved fruitless, however, prompting head office to plan a re-think on the future of the premises.

It is understood that a combination of lack of appropriate premises to move into, coupled with the fact that the existing canteen is doign a steady trade, the Mission will remain in-situ until the autumn of 2012. Officials, nevertheless, are still on the lookout for a suitable harbourside building where they say the Mission will continue to provide services that have established it as an integral part of the community. With hot meals served every day, the Mission is a popular gathering place for both fishermen and members of the public.

Its upper level dormitory acts as a home away from home for foreign fishermen, who frequently use one of nine beds while their boats are in dock. Officials say that these compulsory services will not be affected by the charity’s relocation.

Chairman of the Peterhead Local Advisory Committee, Robert Cardno, said that like most charities, the Mission wa facing economic difficulties, but services will remain available, albeit on a smaller scale.

He said: “It’s not that the Mission is disappearing. Being the main fishing port in Europe, we need a Mission here.”

“We are just looking for a smaller building. The new location depends on the property market and what becomes available near the harbour. It has been difficult to find the right kind of property but we are confident that something will become available.”

Chairman of Peterhead and Fraserburgh Fish Processors Association Will Clark said that the availability of showers and washing facilities on board modern trawlers had caused a decrease in demand for the organisation’s services but that it would remain an integral part of the fishing community.

He told the Buchanie: “There has always been a mission in Peterhead. Like other onshore industries dependant on the fishing industry, the Mission has been affected by the diminishing fleet.

“I fully appreciate the financial constraints, but there is still an important role for this type of business in the area.”