Work on a major refurbishment of the old parliament building in Cullen to expand the sea school is well under way.
The Cullen Sea School, run by charity Three Harbours Association (THA) are creating a new multi- purpose space on the top floor of the building to be used a booking office, to deliver classroom training and as a community meeting place at other times.
In the summer months, once completed the locals and visitors will be able to take advantage of a new retail kiosk, refurbished toilets and improved picnic seating area.
The charity was established in 2010, with representatives from the three communities of Cullen, Portknockie and Findochty.
In 2016, THA worked to renovate a redundant building at the town’s harbour, creating the Cullen Sea School.
The venture has brought many visitors to the area and offers small boat building classes, sailing, coastal rowing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and training courses.
The building has been obtained under a long term lease from the Moray Council and the work is being carried out by Stewart Wilson Joinery.
Professor Ashley Mowat, chairman of THA, welcomed the news that work had been started on project near the harbour.
He said: “Cullen Sea School is the first major project for us since we opened in 2012 and we’re eager to hear what people think of the plans for this development.
‘’None of the this would have been possible without funding from Highland and Moray FLAG European & Maritime Fisheries Fund Programme and Scottish Government, in addition to the Beatrice fund, sources not normally available to local authorities.
“CSS would like to thank the funders, the Moray Council, and all that have provided support in getting to this point.’
“We are looking forward to seeing the end result once construction work is completed.”
Meanwhile a Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative spokesman added: “It is fantastic news for Cullen Sea School and Cullen.”
The Cullen Sea School reopened to offer paddle sports and sailing sessions once lockdown restrictions eased.
Mr Mowat added: ” The Sea School is taking the Covid-19 lockdown and guidance very seriously and have put into place a new way of operating to keep everyone safe.”
“The Sea School building has had to remain closed for now and customers have to wear their own wet suits and shoes.”
Helmets and life jackets are provided by the Sea School and sanitised.
Despite social distancing having to be practised both on and off the water at all times, the sessions have proved extremely popular since re-launching and continue until the end of August for paddlesports and end of September for sailing sessions.
Full details of dates, times, prices and availability of sessions can be found at www.cullenseaschool.co.uk