- A not-for-profit, ecological, community-led venture to support local initiatives
- We plan to reduce and offset our carbon footprint as a community
- The project should complement the use of the current community buildings
- The kirk would be refurbished, providing café space with a kitchen suitable for training
- We aim to produce a business plan to create a self-sustaining facility for the community
“A not-for-profit, ecological, community-led venture which provides adaptable and permanent space for many different aspects of community life and enterprise, ultimately providing value from external financial gain to support local initiatives.”
Our vision for the project has two strands which complement each other. We want to create a carbon neutral community which will inspire us all to live within the resources of our planet, It will demonstrate by example, educating people in what can be done to reduce our carbon footprint, our waste and our use of plastics.
We also want to strengthen our feeling of community by all we do together. We hope that an open space to gather will foster friendships and a sense of belonging. There is a need for drop-in opportunities to meet others, especially in the winter when people can feel isolated and lonely. A hub for the community.
We have consulted people in the community, in a number of different ways, and this outline has grown from all the responses we have received.
Carbon neutral community
We plan to create a community woodland.
This would aim to offset the carbon footprint of our commuting, and our use of fossil fuels.
It would also be a place to enjoy. Somewhere that families with children could go, and a haven for wild birds.
We hope that working on this together will deepen community spirit.
We have realised that most of us live in old stone houses, not well insulated and using fossil fuels for space heating, and most of our community have to commute to work in Aberdeen or other parts of Aberdeenshire.
Our aspiration is to work towards reducing our carbon footprint as a community by learning together how to insulate our homes, heat them more efficiently and using low carbon alternatives, to reduce waste, and to use land (through tree planting) to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide. We hope to buy land on which to plant trees to offset our commuting carbon, and also to buy an available big stone building which could become an example and model of how an old stone-built property could be insulated to the highest spec, heated with renewable energy (e.g. air/ground source heat with additionally electricity needs provided by solar / wind), and providing a net input of electricity to the grid.
We plan to have a permanent display as an educational resource explaining about climate change, and what we as individuals can do to make a difference. The boards would also explain what has been done to the building, as outlined above.
Complementary community buildings
The project should in no way compete with the existing community centre; rather it should augment the possibilities for events and activities in the area.
The Slains Kirk building, which the Church of Scotland has offered our community first refusal on, would provide a venue for larger events which are too big for the Community Centre.
We see it as complementing the Community Centre, which would continue to be used for classes, groups, and social events.
The Slains Kirk building would provide a large space that could be used for concerts, ceilidhs, weddings, funerals, by the community – or for hire by others.
It would provide the day-to day drop-in aspect of having a local café where people can meet each other.
This would also be used by people coming to Collieston from further afield, which would help to generate finance for the upkeep of the building, along with the electricity generated on the adjacent glebe land.
The administration for the new project could perhaps be done in the present community centre, which is equipped with WiFi, and has small rooms which could serve as office space on a part-time basis.
The community centre would continue to provide space for existing meetings, social events, post office, classes etc.
We would aim to work closely together with the community centre and also the Forvie Centre run by Scottish Natural Heritage, which provide very important resources for the community.
Café and available space
The Slains kirk building would be refurbished for the future, while preserving the heritage and history of the building. It would provide café space with a kitchen suitable for training.
The café would serve local, sustainable food of the yummiest kind with a menu catering for all. It must reflect the ecological nature of the building – low travel miles, in season etc.
Integrated into the café area would be the ecological aspect of the building – people can sit and drink their organic, fair trade coffee while reading and seeing how the energy of the building is being sourced/used.
We plan to have a play area permanently set up for children as part of the café, to make it welcoming for young children and their parents.
There would also be space for display of local crafts and paintings, offered for sale by local artists.
Alongside this we hope to have a small museum area with heritage items and photographs, relating to the history of the community.
Possibly several evening openings a week.
On certain days in the week the café would be closed so that the building could be available to book out for large functions – weddings, conferences, music events, gala days etc.
The café would be closed at times when the community is providing alternative events such as the Coastal Café and fund-raising soup and pudding lunches – notices would redirect customers from the café to these events in the Community centre.
Additional support needs
We hope that we could incorporate into the project opportunities for people with additional support needs to help with the running of the café and other aspects of the project.
Increasing numbers of visitors
An increasing number of visitors to Collieston and the Formartine Way have been observed, possibly brought by the Coastal Trail signs and internet information. This means there is a need for wet weather shelter and refreshments.
We need to have a professional business plan to ensure that the project is viable and sustainable, and that we do not lose money. The project must be self-sufficient and not become a burden on the community.
The reach of the project must be greater than the community so that it does not rely on the community to make it profitable – they want to receive the benefits.
We need a professional survey and advice on costs of renovating the building to the highest in ecological standards.
Parking – we need to consider whether we can buy land for parking.
We need to have frequent and clear communication with the wider community.
We need to have a get out plan at every stage and a worst case scenario plan too.