The community of the Howe o’ the Mearns can have an impact on the services and facilities we have locally. New legislation and funding encourage communities to develop their own community plans and to take on services previously delivered by local councils.

We have good reason to focus on sport and recreation. Almost 65% of residents in Aberdeenshire are overweight, most children get well below the recommended periods of activity, our NHS spends almost 25% of its budget on treating type 2 diabetes and the next younger generation have a shorter life expectancy than the current one.

We have a brand new Academy in the Howe with a range of facilities. Unfortunately it was funded on a like for like basis. This means that there was NO PROVISION for a swimming pool and nothing for an athletic track. The promised climbing wall — never got off the ground!

We need to demonstrate that the community is prepared to work together to deliver a better more inclusive range of facilities. These will be available to the whole community.

The Community Empowerment Bill introduced by the Scottish Government gives us new powers to acquire property and land. Laurencekirk Development Trust were asked to take forward these ideas at previous public meetings. They have visited pools around Scotland, talked to managers, funders and Council officers and have identified models which we could emulate.

This is our chance to decide whether there is the will to take the next step, to agree our priorities and to create a genuine legacy for future generations. This can be fun! Come along on Tuesday 21st April to Mearns Academy at 7.00pm. Bring your family, neighbours and friends – this is a community project.

Mike Robson, Laurencekirk Development Trust

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