Feb 292016
 

Brighter BucksburnBy Rhonda Reekie.

Brighter Bucksburn are delighted to announce that we have been chosen as a recipient of the Tesco’s Bags of Help Grant Scheme.

A scheme to help communities improve their local areas using money raised from the purchase of the 5p carrier bags.

Our project along with two other successful applicants in the region will go forward to a public vote in local Tesco’s stores with the customers deciding the outcome.

The project with the highest vote will receive £12000, the second £10000 and the third £8000. The vote will take place in stores from the 27th Feb until the 6th March 2016

Brighter Bucksburn was set up last year by members of Bucksburn and Newhills Community Council, The Beacon Gardening Club and local residents working alongside Aberdeen City Council to improve the area.

Already we have created a small apple and pear orchard, installed new planters and with the help of local schoolchildren planted loads of spring bulbs. We just recently came first in the Eco City award winning £1000 in prize money.

The Bags of Help grant money will go towards improving the Auchmill Nature Walk. This is a 1km path that runs between Auchmill Road and the train line from Bucksburn to the Haudagain roundabout.

After 35 years it is sadly neglected, overgrown, flooded in areas and underused.

Brighter Bucksburn Raised BedsWe plan in conjunction with Aberdeen City Council to drain the flooded areas creating a wildlife pond, repair the path, cut back the overgrowth, plant more trees to attract red squirrels and reduce noise pollution from the road and plant more native species of shrubs and flowers.

We will also improve signage, install seats and bins and create a leaflet to tell you what flora and fauna you can see on the walk.

In the meantime don’t forget to vote for us at your local Tesco’s soon, £8000 is already a fabulous amount  but we could obviously do so much more with the higher amounts!

If anybody wants to join the group or help then contact myself at rhonda.reekie@btinternet.com or message us on the Brighter Bucksburn Facebook group or page sites.

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May 172013
 

With thanks to Anne Florence.

The many changes that have taken place in the Beacon Community Centre over the past couple of years have left many in the Bucksburn community wondering if we still have a building to call our own.

The inclusion of our community centre in the 3Rs project left us with a refurbished building, but with a smaller programme of activities as many did not continue after the building re-opened and much of the time and space was given to Sport Aberdeen.

The management committee (the only four remaining) have been faced with meetings (across the present and last Administration) while the Council try to work out how volunteers can take the place of the community learning staff that they have effectively disbanded.

The Council also expect these groups to maintain their “lifelong learning” programme in centres across the city. The remaining committee would like to see the centre used for all the activities it served before – sports for all ages and abilities and crafts and learning for adults and children – but we do not have the time between us to put in the work that that would entail.

We have had a very constructive talk with Sport Aberdeen and were pleased to learn that they share our view that the centre should once again provide a wide range of activities. They are prepared to help that happen and, for our part, we have agreed to do all we can to find out what the community would like to see happening in their centre and help bring it about.

You can do that by e-mailing beaconcommcentre@gmail.com or by leaving a letter for the management committee at reception in the centre. Tell us what activities and groups you would like to see, or better still become a part of the local forum that will continue to have a role in the centre.

It is now called the Beacon Centre – it’s up to you to put the community back into it.

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Oct 182012
 

With thanks to Rhonda Reekie.

Awards for All have approved a grant of £2854 to Bucksburn and Newhills Community Council, to establish a herb garden for the use of residents. The garden will comprise a series of raised beds, and it’s to be on the site of the former library, just off Kepplehills Road.

A wide variety of hardy herbs will be grown, with labels to identify them.

Car parking is available nearby and the beds will be suitable for disabled access.

Rhonda Reekie, who chairs the Community Council, said:

 “The intention is that once the garden is established and the herbs are growing well, residents will be invited to take modest quantities for use in their cooking.  We also hope to have events to tell people about herbs and their uses.

“The garden is being established in partnership with Bucksburn Academy and we hope that members of the community will volunteer to help too.”

Work will begin on the site on Saturday, 10th November, from 10am to 12 noon. The garden will be marked out and a start made on preparing the ground to take paving slabs and raised beds.

Senior school pupils, parents and members of the wider community will hopefully join in these preparations.

To volunteer to help in the project, phone Aberdeen 712605.

Buckburn and Newhills Community Council have also produced the first Beautiful Bucksburn Calendar. It shows a month per page and includes photos donated by local residents featuring beauty spots in and around Bucksburn, Newhills, Stoneywood and Forrit Brae.

Calendars will be on sale for £5.00, from Monday 15th October. All sales go towards funding local improvements. Contact Lesley, tel 01224 712605

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Sep 212012
 

With thanks to Kenneth Watt. 

 

A senior youth councillor in the city, has supported plans to reconsider the current set-up of libraries in Aberdeen, claiming that resources can be focused in order to meet demand and modern needs for citizens.

Drawing reference to the report going before the Education, Culture and Sport committee on Thursday, Mr Watt highlights that:

 “There are more community libraries in the city than are needed to adequately serve the population.  Not all libraries are in ideal locations to meet the needs of the local communities they serve.”

Kenneth believes that possible library closures should not be ruled out and that the reviews should coincide with the schools estate dialogue which is starting in September. He said:

“Libraries are an integral part of communities and serve all generations. We need to be realistic about usage, though.  In 2012, more and more people need to use the internet, especially with changes to the way that benefits and council services are delivered.

“At the moment, we have an estate with a surplus of facilities.  Almost a half of our libraries have a poor suitability rating.  Resources need to be better focused.

“Particular praise and notice needs to be directed at the success of Bucksburn 3Rs estate which has seen a fantastic new secondary join forces with the library and leisure centre.  I’d be supportive of similar projects.  The council are looking at new primaries being built to match demand and sustainable, modern-day, libraries could be paired with these.

“Library closures in the past have been controversial nationally.  We need to look at what the modern citizen needs and how those wants can be met.  Modernisation needs to be embraced and if done correctly will be for the better.”

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Feb 272012
 

By Stephen Davy-Osborne.

The AECC was alive with the sound of music as the region’s academies went head to head in the Aberdeen Rock Challenge heat.
Pupils from Hazlehead, Bucksburn, Mackie, Kemnay, Turiff, Westhill and Fraserburgh, along with premier team Peterhead Academy, danced it out on stage to win one of three coveted places in the first ever Scottish final. Opening the show were first time entrants Hazlehead Academy.

Drama teacher Morag Duncan told Aberdeen Voice:

“I felt that Rock Challenge was something that Hazlehead Academy really ought to get involved with as it brings children from all different year groups together. And by setting them a goal they all try to achieve better things.”

Dancing as part of Hazlehead’s performance was 16 year old Alexa Riley.

“I wanted to get involved to show the younger members of the school that the seniors aren’t so scary as everyone thinks they are,”  she explained. “I love dancing, so I just wanted the younger pupils to feel that they could get involved too.”

Megan Joyce, 15, of Bucksburn Academy said:

 “This was my third Rock Challenge. I love the atmosphere with all the schools getting involved. Backstage when you’re waiting to go on it’s really really exciting, that’s what I like about it all. And getting ready to go on, that’s a big part for everyone here, just because you’re hyping up, it’s a great feeling.

Barbara Milroy, a teacher at Bucksburn Academy, said:

 “I am so proud of them because they’ve done it all themselves. They’ve created their own ideas and they’ve danced their hearts out. They’ve just put everything into it!”

The idea behind rock challenge is for students to be at their best without any stimulants, but rather to get a natural high from being together and working together as a team. Pupils are also asked to sign a pledge that during the time they are working on Rock Challenge they won’t take part in drugs and alcohol and are going to lead a healthy existence.

“There have been very positive knock-on effects in the school as a result of taking part in Rock Challenge,” added Ms Milroy. “We have pupils who are attending regularly at school because of this activity and making this a focal point in their week, and it’s very evident that they are thinking more about their bodies and how they need to be healthy to take part.”

Playing an on-stage drunk in Bucksburn’s performance was 17 year old Shaun Lancaster.

“It was quite fun because it pushed my acting to the limits,” he explained. “By playing it melodramatically and very big I was able to portray to the audience that it’s not a good thing to be doing, and hopefully encourage others not to abuse alcohol in that way.”

Rock Challenge in Aberdeen has had longstanding relationship with Grampian Police, who have sponsored the event for the past 10 years. Karen Simpson, Youth Diversion Coordinator at Grampian Police enthused:

 “I love Rock Challenge, and I think that it is just amazing that the young people are given an opportunity to perform in a venue like the AECC. The teachers are there just to guide them, all of the hard work that you see up on the stage is all their own, and the performances we see just get better and better each year!”

Stage manager Dan McCredy said:

“This year there was so much hype on Facebook and Twitter before the event we knew it was going to be a bit special and the teams certainly didn’t disappoint. The standard at the Aberdeen event was exceptional and the atmosphere throughout the entire day was absolutely electric. It was a perfect way to round off our time in Scotland and was a fantastic showcase of talent of young people in the North East of Scotland.”

Scottish Regional Representative Lesley-Ann Begg added:

“The news of the first ever Scottish final was a huge incentive for young people to be their best and I’m looking forward to seeing the performances again in Dundee.”

Walking away with the winning position from the Aberdeen heat was Fraserburgh Academy, who will be joined by runners-up Westhill and Kemnay for the Scottish final in Dundee in June.

www.rockchallenge.co.uk

Feb 172012
 

Voice has learned that Aberdeen’s allotment holders may well be close to resolving their long- running dispute with Aberdeen City Council. The swingeing increases imposed in the Council’s 2008 and 2009 budgets have added 152% to bills in a 12 month period for some gardeners. With thanks to Frank Taylor.

Readers may recall that Finance Minister John Swinney confirmed to local MSP Dr Nanette Milne that a local authority would not be entitled to collect rent under regulations which had not been formally confirmed by Scottish Ministers in terms of the Allotment (Scotland) Act 1892.
Regulations made under this provision have no legal effect without ministerial confirmation.

Aberdeen City Council maintained that legally it can to choose whether or not to make regulations for its allotments. Allotment holders do not dispute this, but when the Council claims it has chosen not to make regulations, allotment holders do dispute this.

The allotment holders feel that irrespective of what the Council says it has chosen to do, it has in fact made regulations, but by choosing not to have them confirmed by ministers, the Council has no legal right to enforce these.

The dispute is now at the Sheriff Court as the Council has raised proceedings against Frank Taylor, secretary of Bucksburn Allotments Association. Mr Taylor eventually lost patience with the Council, withheld the rent for his allotments and challenged the Council to raise proceedings against him for recovery of rent and possession to allow the Court to clarify the issues.

Mr taylor told Voice that he did not encourage the Council to raise proceedings against him ‘without a great deal of thought and soul-searching’. There are extremely serious consequences for him should the Court find against him. He may have to surrender possession of his allotments and be found liable for the Council’s costs as well as his own.

He is, however, extremely confident in the merits of his arguments.

The term ‘regulations’ is not defined in the allotments legislation and it is a well-established legal principle in such circumstances, that an undefined word shall be interpreted according to its normal and ordinary meaning.

‘Regulation’ is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority’. Aberdeen City Council is a local authority.  So, has ACC made any rules for the management of its allotments?

Before being granted tenancy, Aberdeen allotment holders are required to indicate their acceptance of a list of conditions in the Council’s ‘Conditions of Let’ letter. Mr Taylor has provided us with a copy and points out that ‘rule’ is a synonym of ‘Condition’ in the Oxford Thesaurus of English.

That seems to put the issue beyond doubt, especially since the Council in its own Condition 9, refers to that condition as ‘a rule’.
To reinforce his views, Mr Taylor says it is evident that the conditions imposed upon him are used to

  1. Set the rent payable in terms of the contract and the date on which the initial rent is payable
  2. Make a direction as to when the rent shall be reviewed and the dates on which future rents shall be payable
  3. Govern the circumstances under which the landlord is entitled to resume possession
  4. Direct who shall be entitled to assess compensation to a tenant on outgo and restrict the right of any other person to input into that process
  5. Direct how the tenancy may be terminated by a tenant
  6. Restrict the entitlement of a tenant to transfer the tenancy
  7. Limit the use to which a tenant may put an allotment and restrict him/her from keeping livestock
  8. Regulate the dimensions and type of hut that a tenant may seek to erect and control where it may be situated
  9. Direct that a tenant may be removed if he does not achieve the required standard of husbandry.

The terms used – ‘manage’, ‘administer’, ‘set’, ‘govern’, ‘restrict’, ‘limit’, ‘direct’ and ‘control’ – are all synonyms of ‘regulate’. There is no doubt that every condition in the Conditions of Let letters regulates, or has the effect of regulating, matters pertaining to the management and administration of allotments owned and let by a local authority.

So has Aberdeen City Council made regulations for its allotments? Has the Council made a regulation by setting a rent? Will a Court disagree with Mr Taylor? He is confident of winning the case..

The Council’s Court Action has been founded on Conditions or an alleged breach thereof.  If the Court decides that these Conditions are Regulations, then the local authority’s Court Action will automatically fail.

Feb 162012
 

By Belle Mont

Robbie, ma loon, jist turn aroon
Pit doon the daisy, boot up yer Mac
A twenty-first century parcel o rogues
Hell-bent on destroyin fit lies at your back.

Wallace, my friend, when it came to your end
You were tortured and flayed, stretched oot on the rack
But tak up yer shield to show we’ll nae yield
‘til the vandals and money-men are driven richt back.

Salvation, look doon o’er the apron afore ye
Verdant and colourful, unspiled and free
Replaced by a latter-day usurer’s temple?
Frown sternly upon those fa wish it to be.

Hey Byron min, look roon the corner
And wonder, ‘far’s next for concrete and tar?’
The Gairdens destroyed? The wreckers micht lobby
To fill in the corrie of dark Lochnagar

Granite-hewn monuments, proud parts of heritage
We call on your spirit, for now is the hour
And, toonsers a’wye – fae Bucksburn to Pointlaw
Save these great Gairdens. We have the power.

Belle Mont
February 2012

Dec 212011
 

Rev. Hugh Wallace of Newhills Parish Church, Aberdeen  tells Voice about a “Not-So-Grumpy Innkeeper” and his highly accomodating role in a  community event to celebrate Christmas and the switch-on of the Bucksburn Christmas tree lights. 

Jim Bell of the Cloverleaf Hotel welcomed around 200 residents from Bucksburn into his Inn for mince pies and tea following the Third Annual Switch-on of the Christmas tree lights.

With the financial encouragement of Aberdeen City Council and the organisation of the local Community Council, the Christmas Story was told in carols and readings.

With a Community Choir made up of children from Bucksburn Primary, Newhills Primary, Stoneywood Primary and Bucksburn Academy, with members of staff and members of Newhills Church, Miss Kirsty Robertson (music teacher at Bucksburn Academy) led the choir in John Rutter’s “Angel Carol” to enthusiastic acclaim from the gathered crowd.

Traditional Carols were sung together, and Rhonda Reekie (Chair of Newhills and Bucksburn Community Council), Rev Nigel Parker (minister of Bucksburn Stoneywood Church), and Rae Wallace (teacher at Newhills Primary School) read the Nativity story from St Luke’s Gospel.

The countdown to the switch-on rang out across the car park until Jim Bell duly lit the tree, rounding off a wonderful evening. The previous week the storms had blown down the tree and buckled its stand, but a sympathetic guest at the Hotel arranged for a new stand to be made in time for the Community Event. A Mexican “Mary and Joseph”, travelling on their way to Bethlehem, also stopped off to take in the atmosphere before heading on their way.

It is thought that they may join the Street Pastors in town this week, and visit the Aberdeen Winter Care Centre where other homeless folk are being welcomed in this Christmas. Perhaps there is room this Christmas for Jesus.

Personally I want to thank the many Newhills Church folk for coming out to support the event, John and Doug for sorting out the sound, and the many others who sent texts and emails of encouragement.

God bless.

Hugh.

Nov 172011
 

When the clocks go back, this doesn’t mean that gardening duties stop, unfortunately. Bucksburn in Bloom’s President Drew Levy offers some timely tips for November as winter approaches.

Leaves seem to get everywhere and cover everything including your lawn, flower beds and paths, but once collected, they make excellent leaf mould.
Your lawn might be covered in leaves and raking can be a chore – so take out your mower, attach its collecting box, select a high lift setting so as not to cut the grass and use it as a vacuum cleaner.
Not only does this make it easier to collect the leaves, but it also helps chop them up, aiding the rotting process.

They can go on your compost heap or into your compost bin, but remember to cover them with an old piece of carpet or close the compost bin lid, as they’ll all blow out again if you don’t.

If you don’t have a compost bin, but have a spare area at the side or back of your shed, you can collect them as before and put them in black bin liners or empty compost bags, adding just a little water to moisten them. Tie the top of the bag and put some small holes in the polythene with your finger to allow air in to help the rotting process.

The leaves will, over winter, turn into leaf mould, which you can put into your flower beds. If you have Acers in your garden, their leaves take a little longer to rot down due to their structure, but they will still turn into the leaf mould that you are looking for.

Worried about your garden pond freezing during the winter? Just drop a couple of tennis balls into the water and this will keep the iced water moving and help prevent the cracking of the pond liner or sides. If you have fish in your pond, take out the tennis balls during the day so that there is a hole to allow the fish to breathe and a place where you can put in their food.

If you haven’t put your spring bulbs in yet, there is still time to plant them before the end of November.

Plant pots which stay outdoors all winter can be helped from freezing to the floor and cracking by cutting small squares of wood to place under them to raise them up off the frozen ground.

Nov 172011
 

Bucksburn in Bloom was born because we wanted to brighten up our neighbourhood with floral displays and to try and make it a brighter place to live. Drew Levy,  President of Bucksburn in Bloom writes.

For a good many years I as an individual had entered into Aberdeen in Bloom and after 6 years of effort in 2011 our garden was awarded 1st prize.
However back in 2007 we were asked what we could do with our street.

To start with I suggested we could get some brackets on the lamp-posts and have two hanging baskets on each lamp-post, then as well as making our own planters we also looked into asking the council if we could have 4 planters as well.

Since 2007 we have added different things to our area and it was one of these improvements, at the entrance to our  our street,  after seeing an article for “Britain’s Best Flowerbed Photo Competition” in a Beautiful Scotland & the RHS News Letter, that we decided to enter into the competition.

At around this same time we were making improvements with floral displays to Bucksburn and also choosing a name and so: Bucksburn in Bloom was born.

Back to the photo competition, we decided to send in the photos of our flowerbed and the entry letter to go with it. We did not expect to win anything, and when you consider that the competition was across the whole of the UK and we are just a new group, you can imagine our surprise when a couple of months later we had been awarded 2nd Prize in our class.

There was more to come, as a result of the prize we were given a 7mtr x 4mtr flowerbed at the North of England’s largest show – The RHS Tatton Park Flower Show in 2009, similar to the Chelsea Flower Show in London .

Once the shock and surprise had eased off we set about designing the flowerbed with all the plants and landscaping. We submitted our design which was a floral oilrig, themed “Scotland’s Homecoming”. In July we packed up all the plants and accessories and we were off to Manchester to take part in our first RHS show.

We had three days to build the flowerbed and on the Wednesday it was judged. We were awarded an RHS Merit, the first they have ever given and we were very proud of it especially as we were up against 26 local council’s in the same category. On the Wednesday after judging the show was opened to 90,000 visitors until the Sunday. We were not just representing Bucksburn but Aberdeen and the North of Scotland and as such we were proud to be dressed in our national costume- the full kilt outfit.

Another great surprise was when we were asked to come back next year in 2010. When asked what our theme would be, we decided that we were going to look into doing a flowerbed around the Highland Coo (cow) complete with its long horns.

Well, in 2010 our entry was accepted and in July  we collected “Gracie” – the coo from the Loch Katrine Centre & headed off to Tatton Park flower show.
We drove all through the night to get there for the Friday morning.

We had incorporated not just the coo, but a block of local Kemnay granite into our bed , which our Lord Provost Mr Peter Stephen had chosen the design of a thistle to be carved into its 4 sides.

Much to our delight and all our hard work this flowerbed was awarded an RHS Bronze Medal!

Sadly, we could not go this year (2011) due to my very bad health, but we have used this time to our advantage. The Tatton Park Show Manager phoned me to say that I had to get well for next year as Bucksburn in Bloom is part of the Tatton Park Family now and we have our place for 2012. We have designed our next flowerbed in the form of a flower canoe and paddles entitled “2012 Paddling to Success “.

If anyone would like to visit our web site you will see not only the first and second flower beds, but also our work around Bucksburn and  you will also see our design for the 2012 show when it goes onto the site in a few weeks time.

We bring all our plants back to Bucksburn & plant them around the area. The granite pillar used in the “coo” flowerbed was presented to the Lord Provost who accepted it on behalf of the people of Aberdeen. It has been placed in the floral courtyard at the Winter Gardens in Duthie Park for all to see.

Our flowerbed and Bucksburn in Bloom were featured live on TV at the time on Gardeners World Live

We feel the floral work that we are doing is going some way in not only  helping the area look nicer but in hopefully bringing people together and I can think of no better way than community gardening. You are out in the fresh air, you are improving your environment and everyone young and old can always learn about gardening.

At 59 and with my years of gardening experience I am still learning all the time and it is good that as you grow older you can pass on your skills to the younger up and coming gardeners.

Our entries to the show are all paid for by sponsors and donations, which allows us to represent Bucksburn and Aberdeen at the RHS Tatton Park show. Our flowerbed and Bucksburn in Bloom were featured live on TV at the time on Gardeners World Live.

We always need sponsorship & donations to help us represent the area. Anyone wishing to make a donation or sponsor our flowerbed entries or even wishing to become a volunteer or just wanting to look us up on our web site,  the details are as follows:
http://www.bucksburninbloom.btck.co.uk

On a final note; one of next biggest projects and working alongside Bucksburn and Newhills Community Council is to try and turn an old school playing field into Scotland’s and Aberdeen’s first solar powered, totally green Community Park for the people & visitors to Bucksburn.  We will be needing volunteers to help with the project for the 5 years it will take to build it.

Whether you are young or old always enjoy your gardening.