An Aberdeenshire men’s shed group finally has the keys to its own premises.
It has been three years since Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed (SDMS) was created but in all that time members have never had their own home.
That changed yesterday as it secured the 19-year lease of the town’s Beach Pavilion with the help of a community asset transfer from Aberdeenshire Council.
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The building was declared surplus to requirements by the authority in 2017 and will now be put to good use once more.
It will require an £80,000 renovation before the 180-strong group of shedders can finally move in.
But there has already been good news on that front, with SDMS already securing significant grant funding for the revamp.
The group currently meets up in the town’s community centre and has regular gatherings of around 30 members every week, though there are 180 signed-up members in total.
Chairman Bill Allan hopes weekly attendance will increase once the new workshop is unveiled.
He said the group was “extremely grateful” to everyone who has helped with the project to date.
Mr Allan added: “The funding we have received will finance replacement of the roof, the external sea-facing cladding and new doors and windows to give better flood protection.
“The project will also include refurbishment and upgrade of the interior to provide separate workshop and social areas.
“We would like to express our sincere thanks to the local council officers, councillors, local MSPs and MPs for their support.
“In addition, we are grateful to the town’s organisations such as Rotary, Lions, and Stonehaven Town Partnership for their donations, to the community council and to the town’s citizens who have encouraged and supported this initiative and provided the motivation for the trustees and members to get it to this stage.
“The town will benefit from the preservation of the building as a community asset, as SDMS will be spending around £80,000 on refurbishment beginning immediately, and another £30,000 over the next few years to bring the property back to a standard that minimises maintenance and storm damage.”
Leader funding of £38,209 has been secured through the South Aberdeenshire Local Action Group (SALAG) and a further £10,000 from Big Lottery Awards for All.
In addition, £8,000 was received from the Kincardine and Mearns area committee budget and donations have been made locally by Macphie’s of Glenbervie and Whittaker Engineering.
The building was formerly used as a community meeting space for various social and sporting groups, including the local Judo Club who petitioned to take on the lease.
It is hoped that, once open, the refurbished social area will be used by other community groups involved in craft or hobby activities.
Chairman of Stonehaven’s community council, Raymond Christie, said he was “pleased” the building would be “brought back to life”.
He added: “The Shed will become a great place to meet and work in a pleasant environment.”
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “We have facilitated the move by the Men’s Shed into the facility and welcome their assistance in finding a long term use for this well-loved venue.”