New charity aims to boost tourism in town

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A local charity has been set up which is hoping to boost the economy by improving tourism in the Stonehaven area.

The new charity has been formed as Stonehaven Festival and Events and has been set up to increase tourism, improve the local economy, encourage investment and create jobs. The charity aims to stage a variety of festivals and events throughout the year to advance community development while promoting our heritage, culture and the arts.

The committee behind Open Air at the Square, who are planning a major Hogmanay concert in the Market Square Stonehaven featuring the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, have set up the charity and were delighted this week to discover that the application to the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator, (OSCR) for charity status has been successful. Stonehaven Festivals and Events has been designated as a SCIO which is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. The charity number allocated by (OSCR) is SC043356.

In accordance with the charity activities the trustees plan to redistribute surplus funds back to the community by providing, grants, gifts, loans or donations to individuals, organisations and other community groups with any surplus funds from the Hogmanay event. In due course they will be inviting applications for the distribution of any residual funds after the event costs have been settled sometime in January and the funds will be re-distributed by March 2013.

In order to facilitate the distribution of funds the trustees have already set up a panel of advisors made up from various members of local community groups and senior officials from Aberdeenshire Council, they will advise the trustees to help them make decisions on where the awards should go. The Panel consists of; William Munro Area Manager for Kindardine & Mearns, Robert Armstrong Business Development Executive for Aberdeenshire Council, Mike Innes Chair of Community Council, George McGillivray Chair of Business Association, Graeme Johnston of Tourism Group and a Director from Stonehaven Town Partnership will also be appointed at their next board meeting.

It is anticipated that the fireballs ceremony, the concert and the fairground will attract a large number of visitors to Stonehaven, many for the first time and hopefully visitors will be persuaded to make return visits during the year visiting local attractions and providing a benefit to the local economy.

Ken Venters the trustee dealing with media and marketing said: “Achieving charity status is a very positive step forward for the Open Air at the Square Committee.

“We have been informed by The Red Hot Chilli Pipers management team that they are delighted to be performing at Hogmanay in such an iconic location and hope that thousands of people buy tickets and attend the event.”

People purchasing tickets for the Hogmanay event will be guaranteed to have a fantastic start to the New Year and that by supporting the event you will enable funds to be allocated back to the community.

Tickets are still on sale now at Celtic Chords, Barclay St & Ma Simpsons Evans St and also available on line at www.woodendbarn.co.uk