Fraserburgh Sea Cadets is hoping to raise £220,000 to buy itself a new home and, in doing, not only secure its future but open its doors to double the number of young cadets.
The group has launched ambitious plans to buy the former Buchanan House care home, which has lain empty since it closed almost six years ago.
If the 30-strong group, with a waiting list just as big, can raise the cash they’re hoping to turn the B-listed building into a base for training, residential stays and use by other community groups.
The club’s commanding officer Craig Trail says it already has £50,000 in the bag but needs community help and some luck with grant funding to move the plans forward.
He said: “There’s been sea cadets in the town since 1943 and the group’s had its ups and downs over that time, like every organisation, but over the last 12 years our unit has come on leaps and bounds so much so it’s now recognised as one of the top in the sea cadets core of about 500 units country-wide.
“Our corp is stuck at 30, though, as we can’t get any more in.”
Couple that with health and safety concerns over ever-increasing traffic passing by their existing home of 40 years, at Balaclava Quay, and a desire to safeguard a historic building which could otherwise fall to “wreck and ruin” and the group is determined to make Buchanan House their new home.
“The windfarm safety maintenance yard has come to Fraserburgh this past year which has displaced a lot of fishing boats from the berth down to the quay, increasing traffic,” he added. “It’s no longer a safe drop off and pick up area. We don’t believe the location we are in is suitable. The building is also old, with an asbestos roof and some work needed.”
Instead, if it can raise £220,000 through grants, donations and an upcoming Buy a Brick campaign, Buchanan House will be bought and brought up to standard.
The club believes it’ll be a “perfect space” which in time could become a community hub, with the Men’s Shed already committed to coming on board.
“The building is large so we could expand our corp to 60, reducing our waiting list,” Mr Trail added. “It’s ideal for what we’re wanting, the small rooms will make officers’ class rooms, there’s a main deck drill hall, catering facilities, dorms for overnight training and going forward we’ll be able to welcome other units from all over to come up to Fraserburgh and train.
“It’s a historic building in the very heart of Fraserburgh which would be left to wreck and ruin otherwise. It’s been on the market for a while as it’s not suited to commercial or residential use.”
The group, run by a team of 14 volunteers, offers recognised training and qualifications to youngsters from age 10 upwards.
It’s previous attempts over the last decade to build a custom base at Sandhaven have been put on hold due to coast protection requirements bumping up costs there to almost £100million.
Anyone able to support the cadets’ fundraising drive should visit its Facebook page or donate online at https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/fraserburghscc?fbclid=IwAR3Gj4t0PpW35WWeu0er8UgTob21_4RdLLfUhF1fc9x-uJIQPn3EvIXRpzg