Councillors hear of K&M regeneration

Inverbervie, Gourdon, Johnshaven and St Cyrus benefitted from more than £200,000 of regeneration funding over the last three years, councillors have heard.

The Kincardine and Mearns Regeneration Priority Area was intended to encourage and improve social enterprise, transportation, the physical environment and support and develop learning.

In the last three years, £209,000 was allocated to communities in the area’s coastal strip to encourage local partnership working and community capacity building.

Consultation and engagement helped identify and evidence local needs so projects could be developed to address these.

As well as council funding, money was also secured from places such as the LEADER fund, Tullo Community Benefit Funds, the Scottish Government and STV People’s Millions.

The council’s new Regeneration Strategy for the region focuses on Fraserburgh as the area of greatest need and regeneration.

While money is no longer available in the Kincardine and Mearns Regeneration Priority Area, work will continue through local community planning groups, council services, partner agencies and community groups.

Members of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee recently received a report outlining the impact regeneration work has had on communities.

Work in 2012/13 included a Wheels 2 Work scheme offering four mopeds for hire to local residents, a bicycle recycling project involving adults with learning difficulties and Mearns Commonwheels, offering two vehicles for public hire.

Coastal path improvements and refurbishment of the Maggie Law museum in Gourdon were funded, as well as the restoration of the Farquhar Memorial and other environmental enhancements at Gourdon Harbour.

A Small Village Grant Scheme enabled some of the smaller projects to progress and has been a valuable resource, seeing the refurbishment of the kitchen at Inverbervie Burgh Hall and supplying a laptop to St Cyrus Playgroup, amongst other projects.

Engagement through newsletters, public events, meetings and publicity has been a key factor in the successful delivery of the work, and as a result an improved coastal communications network has been established.

It is hoped this will offer the opportunity to build on existing work and ensure the council can continue to support ventures where required.

“This has been a good example of community planning in action, bringing together various agencies and members of the community to identify local needs and to try to address them,” said Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee chair, Carl Nelson.

“While the regeneration funding has made a substantial difference to local coastal communities, the work will not stop here.”

Vice chair, Peter Bellarby, said: “Many of the projects which have been started will continue, securing funding from other sources and continuing to benefit from the determination and effort put in by local communities.

“The achievements made in making a visible improvement to these communities using this regeneration funding are testament to the energy of local people, who often give their time and effort simply for the benefit of others.”