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Banff church lays funding row to rest and hails installation of grant-supported security system

Councillor Glen Reynolds, Joe Ewen (Leader of the River Church network and chairman of the board) Rob McArthur (lead Pastor River Church Banff) and councillor John Cox.
Picture by Jason Hedges
Councillor Glen Reynolds, Joe Ewen (Leader of the River Church network and chairman of the board) Rob McArthur (lead Pastor River Church Banff) and councillor John Cox. Picture by Jason Hedges

A Banff church which has spent £3,000 on new security cameras says the measures will calm the fears of the congregation and the wider community.

River Church’s plea for £3,246 from Aberdeenshire Council’s Banff and Buchan area committee to put the system in place at the Harvest Centre on Castle Street caused controversy when it was discussed.

It divided the opinion of councillors after they were mistakenly advised the organisation had almost £1 million in the bank

Half of the committee argued the application would offer little benefit to the wider community and could be funded from the group’s bank account, while others felt the cash was more than deserved due to the church’s efforts in helping the town during the coronavirus lockdown.

After a tied vote, chairman Andy Kille’s casting ballot meant the money was awarded, and clarification of the apparent £909,000 in the church’s bank account has since shown the majority of that money is ring-fenced.

River Church pastor Rob McArthur said: “We felt it would be useful to have a discussion with councillors after the meeting to offer more clarity on our financial position and to acknowledge the welcomed grant to support the CCTV project.

“The primary purpose of having these cameras installed was to bring greater security to our volunteers, some of which attend this church and some from the wider community.

“They have now been installed and are working well, we are so very thankful for the good work of Aberdeen Alarm Company who installed the cameras and we were delighted with the quick installation.”

Banff councillor Glen Reynolds, who was initially swayed by the misconstrued bank balance into objecting to the grant, has welcomed the installation and praised the church for its “duty of care to serve and protect all those that use and frequent its welcoming programme of events and resources”.

He added: “Keeping safe is very much what life is all about at the moment, and the River Church is no exception, not least when it serves its church community as well as a wider group of folk.

“People must feel safe too, and I hope that the CCTV will facilitate this.”

Mr Kille added: “We were pleased to have the opportunity to meet virtually with church representatives to get a better understanding of their projects and their financial situation, and we wish them all the best for their CCTV project.”

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