MORE ABOUT MEETINGS

Discussion meetings are scheduled and taking place on an ongoing basis, with around 30 at the most recent online meeting, planning what action to take as the project goes forward.

You are welcome to join us for discussion and planning future action, sharing progress, and listening to invited speakers.

And you can catch up with an earlier meeting when 58 people came to hear Prof Pete Smith speak and answer questions about the Climate Emergency on 26th February 2020. This was the first in a planned series of monthly talks.

Plans are continuing to evolve all the time through email communication and Zoom meetings.

Fill in the website form, or email us on <seachange41@btinternet.com> if you would like more info or to be involved.

A Vital Step for SEAchange

SEAchange has been awarded a grant from The Scottish Land Fund,

which enables the purchase of the old Slains Kirk building for community use, together with land on which to plant trees to begin to offset our community carbon footprint.

This funding will be a big step forward in realising a community project which began to take shape in 2018. There has been a lot of community input, with many people sharing ideas, needs, concerns and visions of what could be achieved.

The project highlights taking individual and community action to mitigate the climate emergency by working towards becoming a carbon neutral community. A need was also expressed for somewhere that people could meet each other on an informal drop-in basis.

In Nov-Dec 2019 an independent community ballot was held. Of 187 votes cast 74% supported the centre and café in the kirk building and 75% also supported the woodland area which will provide additional recreational opportunities as well as sequestering carbon emissions.

With this grant award SEAchange will be able to take the first steps in implementing these community aspirations.

Professor Pete Smith, FRS, FRSE, FNA, FEurASc, FRSB, Professor of Soils & Global Change, University of Aberdeen, and also a trustee of SEAchange, said:

“We are delighted with this award from the Scottish Land Fund. It will allow us to develop the old Kirk for use as a low carbon community café and the land for creating community woodland. There is still a lot of work to do, but this award marks the first vital step on our journey to become a carbon neutral community.”

You can read a summary of a talk on the climate crisis by Professor Pete Smith via this link.

SEAchange would like to express our warmest thanks to the Scottish Land Fund for this award, and also to the Formartine Area Committee, The Architectural Heritage Fund, and Just Enterprise for their help in researching and developing the project.


What’s Happened Since

We are grateful to The Architectural Heritage Fund and to Formartine Area Committee for grant funding in 2019 which enabled an independent valuation of the land and kirk building, and to commission a feasibility report from Blue Nimbus Ltd.The feasibility report concluded that the size and location of the kirk building is suitable for conversion to a commercially run café, and that there is a market for this. Profits from the café would maintain the building and, in time, generate funds to contribute to other projects in the village. 

The grants also helped us explore options, through a building condition report, technical surveys and initial drawings by local architect, Stephen Brown. More recently, Just Enterprise has worked with us to review a business plan. These studies and reports, as well as your feedback, have helped us to develop options, and to identify and manage potential risks.

Photo: Ken Ingram

Upgrading the kirk could also provide a real example of how an old stone building could be used with minimal impact on the environment and provide examples of how we could all save energy in traditional local properties. The historic building would be repaired and preserved as an important feature in our village to be used by the community.

The Climate Emergency

What can we do about it?

24th February 2021 @ 7.00pm
Online with Zoom

The meeting will follow our usual format, learning how we can understand our climate footprint and the best ways to improve it. If you haven’t been before, you are very welcome – we would like to hear all ideas in order to arrange future discussions with guest speakers, and to make plans to reduce our climate impact.

Next Steps

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?

Photo by Nick Scott / Alamy stock

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.

What We Are About

Since we consulted you in 2018, SEAchange has been awarded charitable status with the following objectives:

  • To promote environmental protection by providing information and demonstrating ways to reduce climate change
  • To promote art and local heritage, encouraging enjoyment of art and music, and preserving our heritage

We have tried to keep you updated with progress through The Blether and would like to thank the Community Council for their help and support in that.

This leaflet is being sent to every household in the Collieston and Slains area. It gives a summary of progress, and outlines the proposals we have developed from the ideas you have suggested most often in our earlier consultations.

Now, you have the opportunity to make the decision on whether we take these proposals forward to the next stage. Everybody aged 16 or over and who is on the electoral roll will be entitled to vote. The ballot will be conducted by a consultant, Helen Barton of Highland Community Resources who has been employed with grant funding to ensure it is truly independent. We will not see your votes – Helen will give us and all of you in the community only the overall result.

This leaflet gives a brief summary. If you need more information you will be able to ask us in person at our presentation on Saturday 16th November, which you can drop into any time between 10:30am and 3:30pm.

Detailed documents are also available on our new website www.seachange41.wordpress.com which also has a link from www.colliestononline.wordpress.com

Community Ballot Results

We have received an email from Helen Barton, the independent consultant who organised the ballot.

Continue Reading

Thank you for the turn-out, and for registering your votes for and against the SEAchange project. 

We have received an email from Helen Barton, the independent consultant who organised the ballot.  Helen wrote:  


“headline results are:

74% in favour of the kirk proposal

75% in favour of the land proposal

40% overall turnout
(52% Collieston village)

The turnout level is very good for this type of ballot, and a very clear result here. A more detailed breakdown is included in the report attached. If there is anything else you need do let me know.

Best regards,
Helen”


If anyone would like to join our emailing list to be notified about news, meetings and progress, do email us on:

seachange41@btinternet.com
or
craig.collieston@btinternet.com

You are very welcome to join in the next stages of the SEAchange project.

Many thanks again to you all,
from the SEAchange team


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