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Established in 2006 as a volunteer group, SHARK aims primarily to promote the wildlife and habitats of the local area. It also tries to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle and promote activities which reduce the village’s contribution to global warming and, at their recent AGM in the Ship Hotel, Chair Rebecca Chambers thanked all who had helped the group in any way and reported on their activities during 2014.
There had been three clean-ups of the beach, in March, June and September, as well as a gorse bashing exercise on a section of the former railway line in February and a tidy up of the village in April.
In March, the Mill of Benholm was the venue for a Science Fair and SHARK took the opportunity to use the occasion to promote both the group and its forthcoming beach clean-up.
Outwith the village, some members took part in bracken bashing at St Cyrus Nature Reserve in June.
In August it was time to have a break, with some fun at their annual BBQ, and on the fund-raising front, £247 was raised at the NEOS Café Day in the Village Hall in September. And, of course, the much-appreciated green bag collection of garden waste continued through the spring, summer and autumn.
In presenting the treasurer’s report, Sue Calder said that £814 had come in from memberships and £69 from donations.
Looking forward to this year, the green bag collections will begin on Saturday, March 28, and, following a questionnaire in which 80% of those who completed it thought that a free reusable plastic bag was good idea, the group will continue to pursue the concept.
Office-bearers for 2015 are Chair, Rebecca Chambers. Secretary, Niall Young and Treasurer, Sue Calder.
Mill of Benholm
A “vision for the future” was the message which emerged from the AGM of the Mill of Benholm Trust, which was held in the Village Hall on Sunday afternoon.
Although the meeting was not particularly well attended, after the Chair, Ranjit Fernandez, had explained the reasons for the closure of the Mill in the spring of last year and that responsibility for the A-Listed Mill and its environs lies with Aberdeenshire Council, there was a lengthy and fruitful discussion on where the mill is now heading.
It has already been reported that Cornerstone, one of Scotland’s largest charities and leading providers for adults with special needs, see the potential of the site for trainees in catering and horticulture and the Mill’s Board of Trustees supports this initiative, the chair in his report commenting that: “Cornerstone has the experience and resources to make the Mill of Benholm a fantastic place for trainees and volunteers”. Should Cornerstone’s bid be successful it is thought that some form of community involvement would still be required to manage the tourist aspect of the enterprise, although it was pointed out that: “Cornerstone has a formal volunteer programme which anyone can join and work on the site.”
One discussion paper has already been presented to Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee and it is hoped that another will soon be in front of councillors at a future meeting. However, as Councillor George Carr, a non-executive member of the Mill’s Board and their link to the Area Committee, stressed, it is important to have a vision for the future, a timetable drawn up and action take to ensure that the Mill is again up and running by the summer.
Meanwhile, the remaining members of the Board, Ranjit Fernandez, Susie Brown and Ian Hunter stood down but will act as “caretakers” until an EGM is held on Thursday, June 18, at 7 pm.