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Peterhead support group facing bleak future after funding blow

Councillor Stephen Calder, outside Compass Point in Peterhead.
Councillor Stephen Calder, outside Compass Point in Peterhead.

A north-east support group is facing a bleak future unless it can secure new funding.

Compass Point Peterhead may be forced to close in a couple of months after it emerged the organisation’s grants will not be renewed.

The organisation launched last year with the aim of getting the region’s unemployed back into work.

From their offices in the town’s Back Street, they have offered people from across Buchan assistance with finances and benefits.

The project is operated alongside The Foyer, Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action, NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Council.

But a social media post from Compass Point revealed that time is running out for them.

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It said: “Well, we tried our best, but sadly it looks more and more likely that Compass Point will close in a couple of months time.

“Our current funding is not to continue.”

It is understood the potential shortfall is related to a European Social Fund (ESF) grant that will end later this year.

This money is used to reduce inactivity among young people and the long-term unemployed to improve training and skills.

Last night, councillors united to praise the work Compass Point has been doing since it launched last summer.

Peterhead South and Cruden council Stephen Calder said it was “essential service” for the town.

He added: “Since it opened in June last year, Compass Point has provided an essential service to the local community within a safe environment.

“The dedicated team of leaders and volunteers has given expert assistance in achieving positive outcomes, including computing skills and help in seeking training and employment.”

His ward colleague Stephen Smith wants to see the organisation’s funding continuing beyond Brexit.

He said: “Compass Point provides tremendous support to people around employability, finance and benefits. I understand the European element of their funding is up for renewal, but I’m keen to see that continue.

“I’d certainly support Compass Point in their case for that funding continuing, and from whatever hopefully replaces that funding stream after Brexit.”

Peterhead North and Rattray councillor Dianne Beagrie said: “I’m aware of the good work Compass Point has done and hope the partners behind the project will be able to find a way to continue it.”

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said the funding concerns were not related to the local authority.

He added: “We have been assured by the partners who make up Compass Point that support will continue to be provided, whilst mapping out a way forward for the future.

“This is not a result of a council decision and, as it is a commercial matter for the partners that make up Compass Point, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action, who manage Compass Point Peterhead, refused to comment.

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