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Ballater folk look to the future

27th March 2009

Everyone in Ballater is being invited to a meeting, which will help shape the future of the village, on Saturday 4th April 2009.

The Ballater One Voice Our Future (BOVOF) project is calling on locals to come up with ideas for a plan to improve their community. The most urgent things that need doing will be prioritized and will be eligible for funding by various agencies and charitable trusts.

The project follows the setting up of a pilot scheme for the communities of Grantown, Cromdale, Dulnain and Advie by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) 18 months ago. The CNPA devised a “toolkit” for the best way for the organisers to get local feedback and this method has been adopted in Ballater.

The BOVOF Working Group was instigated to oversee the project by the Ballater and Crathie Community Council supported by the CNPA and its partners. It includes representatives from Ballater and Crathie Community Council, the CNPA, Aberdeenshire Council, the Association of Cairngorms Communities, Ballater (RD) Limited, The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, Save Cash Reduce Fuel (SCARF), and Ballater residents.

Residents and businesses in Ballater have received questionnaires designed to obtain as much information as possible about what they see the community needing for the future.

The first of the drop-in consultations, called Ballater Blethers, takes place at the Victoria Hall, Ballater on Saturday 4th April, starting at 12.30pm, with refreshments provided.

Information will be gathered through small discussion groups and other means. Public agencies, including the CNPA, local groups including young people, people with disabilities, voluntary organisations and local businesses have been invited to be on hand to provide advice and information.

Later the same day at the Victoria Hall there will be a chance for young people to have their say and enjoy themselves at the free “Sound Off” Youth Café starting at 5pm.

While giving their ideas they can enjoy the Voxur Box (Video Booth), Pedalgo Competition, Remote Control Car & Beer Goggles, Wii machines with Big Screen Guitar Hero, Bingo and Music, with prizes including a free raffle to win Anywhere Vouchers and the chance to win a voucher for a skid training session in Aberdeen worth £300. Free pizzas and soft drinks will be served as they go along.

BOVOF Project Coordinator Gordon Riddler said: “To get the best result for future developments in Ballater, it is important for everyone who possibly can to return questionnaires and spend some time attending the Ballater Blethers.”

Following an independent analysis of all the information gathered, a second Ballater Blether will be held on Saturday 2nd May in the Victoria Hall when updates on the questionnaires will be given and the all important setting of priorities for the action will be established by the community.

Mr Riddler added: “People should also make sure they attend this meeting. If people don’t go along to the Blethers they won’t be able to have their say about the future of the village.”

Fiona Munro, the CNPA’s housing policy officer, said: “BOVOF have organised themselves really well to enable the people of Ballater to have their say about the future of the community.”

Anyone who wants further information, or wish to provide a stand, poster or advisor, or assist as a facilitator for the drop in consultations at the Ballater Blethers, should contact Gillian Sinclair on 013397 55467.