We would now like to get the community’s view on whether to pursue these proposals. Should we put in applications for grant funding to purchase the former Slains Kirk and additional land nearby?
If we purchase the kirk building, the plan is to develop a social enterprise café which would aim to generate enough income to cover its own running costs – including paid staff so that volunteers are not diverted from other projects – and to make a profit. We’ve received costed architectural sketch designs to upgrade the building to a highly energy efficient and sustainable space. The year-round café / bistro would cater for locals and visitors, with a strong emphasis on local provenance and sustainability. Initial plans are to open four days a week, which would increase if there is sufficient demand.
The café would also be available for hire for occasional events. We hope to host a program of events, special evenings and classes by local artists and musicians as demand dictates. There would be space for the sale of paintings, jewellery and other crafts. Display space would also include interactive information on energy conservation and local heritage.
Woodland planted on surrounding land would offset the equivalent of 830 return car journeys to Aberdeen each year. A much larger area would be required to make us carbon neutral in the future, but it is an important start to raise our awareness of the impact of commuting and encourage other alternatives. It would also increase local biodiversity habitats, as this is an important area for migrating birds and would add amenity value for locals and visitors.