The Fisherman’s Hall in Buckie is a success story the region can be proud of, its new operators said yesterday as the town played host to a government minister.
One of several community-run venues in Moray, the hall is the second largest of its kind but was threatened with closure earlier this year after Moray Council announced plans to shut down town halls throughout the region.
The authority did, however, encourage communities to step forward and take them over and the Friends of the Fisherman’s Hall group has been running it since July.
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Secretary of the group, Linda Boyd, believes it has become more popular than ever and is now an excellent example of what a community-run project can achieve.
She said: “Things have definitely picked-up since we took over the hall.
“New groups have started to use the hall again and we have had lots of enquiries about booking the hall for next year and even the following year.
“We are just hoping to encourage more users to use this facility to try and keep the doors open and keep it at the heart of the community.
“The Friends took it over in the first place because it is the second largest hall in Moray and the groups who use it would have been made homeless had it gone.
“We want to make it a welcoming place for anyone who needs it.”
Other Buckie community-ran projects also received praise from Scottish Government Community and Local Authority Cabinet Minister Aileen Campbell as she visited the town.
The Friends of Buckie Square Memorial, who fundraise to regenerate the memorial garden at the Buckie Square War Memorial, also got a mention, alongside the Buckie Christmas Lights and the mothers behind the Well Road play park regeneration.
Buckie councillor Sonya Warren was full of praise for the community groups who do their best for the town.
She said: “These community groups are very important to Buckie and they are quite often the life and soul of what happens in the town.
“They have such fantastic community spirit and much of the work is undertaken by volunteers. Their hard work benefits the town in so many ways.”