Volunteers from Fraserburgh Heritage Society who manage the 4-star visitor attraction Fraserburgh Heritage Centre are devasted that the community-led attraction could face closure this year following a 40% cut in grant funding from Aberdeenshire Council.
The swingeing cut was announced just two weeks before the centre opened for the season on April 1 and gave management little time to adjust to the situation.
Continuing efforts are being made by the management committee, who are all volunteers, to keep the centre open. But as yet negotiations with the council have been to no avail.
Last week under the Visit Scotland Award Scheme, the centre was given a glowing report and again awarded 4 stars.
The report described the centre as a blueprint for other community attractions, and stated: “An exemplary and certainly a blueprint for all community-led attractions throughout the country. A well deserved and earned 4 Star award is again applicable”.
It further stated: “The various interactive elements are a delight, built from recycled materials and offer fun and information for children and adults alike.”
Commenting on the report and the threat of closure, heritage society president, Ian Watson, said: “It is a terrible situation when the centre is recognised, not only locally but nationally as an example of particularly excellent community led practice, that it is not being recognised as an asset by Aberdeenshire Council.
“In its plans for Fraserburgh the council has two main considerations – tourism and regeneration.
“A lot of money has been invested in the area surrounding the heritage centre with the new housing development and the coastal path which makes for Kinnaird Head being an attractive tourist site.
“Surely a rethink by the council is necessary given its own policies, and, reducing visitor attractions is not the way to go. This is a very negative response.”
Urging locals to help preserve the town’s heritage, Mr Watson continued: “We thank the loyal members who have supported us in the past with either cash or kind, and now desperately seek support from all the community of Fraserburgh including our councillors, our MP and our MSP to ensure we remain open.
“If you are not already a member you might consider becoming one. Please visit the centre and pick up a form or, if you would like to make a donation or can think of any other way of helping us please get in touch with Ronnie McNab, our membership secretary, on 01346 517260.
“We do not want to see this “Jewel in the Crown of Fraserburgh ” as one comment in our visitor book says - disappear.
“And make no mistake, if the centre closes, the wonderful displays and the irreplaceable records and artefacts pertaining to the town’s history and in particular to the fishing heritage, will disappear from Fraserburgh for ever and the story of the town will be lost.
“Please help us to keep them where they belong.”