One of the oldest buildings in a north-east town has been restored to vibrant life at the heart of its community.
The Old School in Westhill will become a centre for people with neuro-developmental conditions and multiple support needs.
Aberdeenshire Council has granted a community asset transfer of the historic building to local charity SensationALL, in a deal which marks the culmination of years of effort.
The terms of the transfer – Aberdeenshire Council’s biggest to date – will provide SensationALL with a stable and secure base to house the valuable services it provides to families living with a variety of complex conditions such as autism, learning disabilities and neurological conditions.
The charity’s chairman, Bob McCracken, said: “This is a magnificent step forward for the charity, which provides it with a stable foundation on which to build and flourish.
“I would like to thank Aberdeenshire Council, the local councillors, the local community and the trustees – past and present – for their support and hard work which has resulted in the charity being given this wonderful opportunity.”
SensationALL’s facilities include a fully-equipped sensory room with various multi-sensory resources, a soft play room and rooms for group activities.
Aberdeenshire Council’s transfer means that the charity can now begin work on expanding the services it offers.
Service manager and co-founder of the organisation, Suz Strachan, said: “This is an exciting and bold move for SensationALL.
“Taking over the long-term lease of the building presents a fantastic opportunity for us to develop our services and facilities as never before.
“Our future really is now in our own hands.”
Garioch area committee chairman Fergus Hood, added: “We are so pleased to see this coming together for the benefit of the local community.
“It will help to support the incredibly important work which SensationALL does with some of our most vulnerable residents.
“We are committed to empowering communities to create their own success stories through community asset transfer projects and this is absolutely one of them.”