The long awaited Stonehaven All Weather Sports Facility was officially opened this past weekend by Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Sport.
The community led project has been developed over the course of a number of years by local community group, Stonehaven Community All Weather Surface Facility Committee (SCAWSFC) with funding secured from Aberdeenshire Council and SportScotland.
The idea for the project was initially raised during a community forum in Stonehaven, organised by Stonehaven Town Partnership, which examined community planning priorities for the town and surrounding area.
A working group was initially established by Stonehaven and District Community Council, leading to the creation of the Stonehaven All Weather Pitch Committee.
This group worked with a wide range of sporting interest clubs and community groups, meeting regularly to develop the scope of the project, secure extra funding and to oversee the contract and construction.
Aberdeenshire Council was able to allocate £320,000 towards the scheme, as part of funding identified for investment in towns and villages across the north-east. Funding totalling £295,000 was also provided by sportscotland through their Cashback and Sports Facilities Funds.
Construction of the facility began in the spring this year, and is now very close to completion.
Douglas Samways, chair of the Stonehaven Community All Weather Sports Facility Committee (SCAWSFC), said: “It has taken a while and a lot of effort but it’s been worth it. We are delighted that this long awaited and much-needed facility has now been provided for the people of Stonehaven.
“This is an excellent example of how partnership working can provide facilities that communities might not otherwise have.
“I wish to thank all those organisations, groups, clubs and individuals who have contributed to the success of this project. We are particularly grateful to Aberdeenshire Council and sportscotland who provided the money to make it possible in the first place.”
Stonehaven and District Community Council agreed to be the applicant back in 2013 which saw them foot the planning application costs.
Provost of Aberdeenshire Hamish Vernal said: “There’s a high level of participation and success in sport in Stonehaven, and the creation of an all-weather facility has been a long-held aspiration for the town.
“I am very pleased to see this project reach this stage and I know it will be a valuable addition to the facilities available in Stonehaven.”
Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said: “New sporting facilities like this can only help to encourage more people to take up sport, and that has to be a good thing. Our CashBack for Communities programme has seen almost £26 million invested in sporting activities and facilities projects across the country.
“It’s great to see Mineralwell Park and the local community in Stonehaven benefit from this, and also from sportscotland’s Sports Facilities Fund.”