Jun 062022
 

By Suzanne Kelly.

Dear All

Congratulations on your election to Aberdeen City Council.  There are high hopes for your cohort. I write to say I am always interested in hearing from you on the issues.  I am glad that so many of you have communicated with me over the years.

The following issues are of great interest to the public.  None of these issues will be allowed to just fizzle out. 

I will certainly continue my pursuit not only of such stories, but more importantly of resolutions.  Some documentation is attached; more is available.  I invite you to search the archives of online newspaper Aberdeen Voice, www.aberdeenvoice.com and to look at my FOI register on What Do They Know – https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/user/suzanne_kelly/requests 

Size of the city’s deficit:

Debt exceeding £1.4 bn is utterly unsustainable, and expensive real estate ventures/forays into the commercial real estate sector must be better thought out; they are not cure-alls.  

Marischal Square:

Not even the city can say with certainty how much money comes in as rent from the occupants; I was told as much in an FOI. 

Relevant committees must as a matter of urgency weigh up how much is spent on sweeteners (a list appeared in Aberdeen Voice showing millions paid out to companies including Aberdeen Journals Ltd and multinationals – the city resisted supplying this information until the Information Commissioner intervened), and future renewals and new deals need to get the value for money the taxpayer expects but is not getting.

Relationship with Aberdeen Journals Ltd: 

The ethical considerations of continuing to fund Aberdeen Journals Ltd should be examined; I am unaware of any other lucrative sweeteners offered to large or small news outlets operating in the area.

Then again, many news outlets would not want to lose their integrity and independence by taking money from Aberdeen’s taxpayers via ACC.

Click to enlarge.

Union Terrace Gardens:

How was it decided to spend c £26 million to remove 46 mature trees which most definitely cleaned the air, in order to create new shops adjacent to a street with closed-down shops? 

This vanity project needs full investigation – and the state of it at present should be included in that.

Covid is often used as an excuse for the slow pace of the project – and yet construction workers were absolutely permitted to carry on work during lockdowns. 

When granite steps were removed from the site, a councillor was upbraided for suggesting they were gone by an officer who later had to do a u-turn; I am not convinced officers show enough support to the elected councillors.

Aberdeen Inspired:

This business improvement district entity receives money from the central government, and Aberdeen City prepares its billing and accounts free of charge – which is a benefit in kind funded by the taxpayer. It steadfastly refuses to answer FOIs lodged with it.  You should be aware of its early problems.

  • Former head awarded her husband a unilateral pay increase and soon after left. 
  • AI spent c £400k of taxpayer money from central government on the abysmal illuminated street signage.  The signs have malfunctioned – but their biggest drawback is that while they can be clearly seen from both sides of the streets which they hang over, they are only legible from one direction – an error that no first-year design student would make.   
  • No tender exercise was held; an English firm got the £400k – a firm which apparently had a link to John Lewis, a company which at the time had presence on the AI board. 

The money spent on the Christmas fairs, the ridiculously-high figures presented as accurate footfall in the past of over 600k visitors – all this needs to be investigated and remedied. 

There is a definite lack of retail/city planning expertise in the organisation; an ex-policeman has been allowed to guide the city’s retail future and the failures of the lack of relevant experience are all too evident.

Torry:

Very little green space remains, and what there is is under threat from the plans of unelected quangos such as ONE.  Hydrogen is not a viable future, and certainly not at the expense of further industrial builds on green space. 

Biodiversity in Torry has tumbled; environmental issues must be taken more seriously.  I and many are convinced the incinerator will further degrade air quality (I developed asthma while living in Torry); hydrogen industry takeover of green belt is unacceptable to many.

Scotia Homes/Sheilhill Road area / B999 promised road improvements:

When Scotia got permission for the hundreds of new homes in the area, it paid substantial sums towards three specific road improvements which at the time were said by ACC to be for safety reasons. 

The money had long-since been paid with no work done – and inexplicably with the Chief Executive writing that the funds had ‘just’ been received when they had been in-house for years.  Some councillors have tried to help; others have worked to slow and stop the needed road improvements.  This remedial, promised and paid-for work must be done.

Sky walkway at Union Terrace Gardens:

A FOI request about the safety of the walkway is now long overdue.  I requested the necessary risk assessments; they are not forthcoming. 

The very idea of building a sky walkway next to a bridge known for over 100 self-harm events over the years – with the walkway having only balustrades for protection – is an immense risk.  As well as opportunities for self harm, the very real possibility of danger from fallen – or thrown – objects exists, and should be addressed in the documentation for the project. 

Such documentation must be released; the walkway must not open until it can be guaranteed safe.  The liability for lawsuits on the city is enormous, and that needs to be recognised.

ACC Freedom of Information handling:

The city’s FOI team complains it has many FOIs to answer; the media team likewise complains it has many requests to answer.  In years past, journalists were allowed to speak to employees and officers directly and get information swiftly. 

This change was ACC’s decision, although Indeed some news outlets still seem to enjoy that privilege. 

Virtually every FOI request I make is answered late.  Some require appeals to the Information Commissioner which are often successful. Some are delayed by staff asking for clarification of my questions which are already spelled out in great precise clarity – some feel this is a delaying tactic. 

There absolutely needs to be improvements; the Information Commissioner’s Office is looking at these issues.

This includes the removal of the requirement for those asking ACC questions via their website to set up an account with the city – there is no reason a person needs to be logged into the city’s systems – where their activity could be monitored or tracked – in order to make or see FOI requests. 

All FOI requests should be visible and easily searchable on the ACC website. As it is, there is no longer one visible list of FOIs, but smaller sub-lists and subpages.  The whole FOI procedure is cumbersome, slow, and sometimes ignores IC policy, as demonstrated in the judgments against it. Time for change.

Aberdeen Art Gallery: 

You should all be aware of the fact that over the years 1,577 items were lost or stolen – and as it now emerges, destroyed. 

In a report to the Audit, Risk & Scrutiny Committee, officer Sweetnam (?relation to the gallery’s Margaret Sweetnam? – that would constitute a conflict of interest many might think – but the city refuses to confirm or deny the relationship) represented many galleries have such losses.

I heard from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Highlands & Islands.  Not one of these has anything like the losses ACC has.  The curatorial policy has seen some 24 listings for rocks, gemstones, valuable minerals and fossils destroyed:  this is wholly against the policies for disposal published by National Galleries Scotland – policies the Sweetnam report claimed the gallery adheres to.

Nothing should be destroyed unless it is a hazard according to that policy. 

Click to enlarge.

Many catalogue items are undated, don’t show what the item is made of, no indication of size of item or quantity in a listing:  all contrary to same policy.  It is hard not to think criminality is involved in some of the thefts that has not been fully examined. 

The ARS committee is set to look at the issue again in the near future; it is hoped that any report put to it will be robustly analyzed, and the inconsistencies pointed out here are examined. 

It is bizarre that some items donated have virtually no value, and the question needs to be asked of such items what valuation was the donor given and did it offset tax liabilities for the donor unfairly?

You certainly have your work cut out for you.  Serving the public and protecting the public’s money and remaining green space must be top of your list, and I look forward to hearing from any and all of you on the issues.

Yours sincerely,
Suzanne Kelly, NUJ

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Oct 132017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Organisers of Nuart Aberdeen have made a ‘call for walls’ to identify city centre sites for new street art murals to be developed when the festival returns in 2018.
The international award-winning festival made its debut earlier this year and a team of globally acclaimed artists showcased their talents by producing powerful murals attracting large crowds over the Easter weekend.

Nuart Aberdeen was brought to the city by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, and was supported by main sponsor Burness Paull LLP.

In anticipation of the festival returning next year, work is already underway to find prospective new walls to use next year and the festival project team are keen to hear from property owners and business that would like to be involved.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Nuart Aberdeen festival and it has been truly transformational, attracting significant footfall over the summer months. 

“We are delighted that the festival will be coming back and the festival team has started work to identify prospective new walls in the city centre for street artists to use next year. I’d encourage property owners and businesses in the city centre who would like to be considered to contact us.

“Already we have noted interest from city centre businesses, however we want to maximise this opportunity to shape Nuart Aberdeen 2018.”

Held in the Norwegian city of Stavanger since 2001, and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, Nuart Aberdeen was the first overseas version of the festival.

Martyn Reed, director and curator of Nuart, said:

“The artists, team and partners had an incredible first year in Aberdeen, a truly remarkable event that we took a lot of credit and accolades for alongside our partners, Aberdeen Inspired.

“It’s always a little humbling taking credit for Nuart, because the reality is, the event is a huge collaborative undertaking between so many different talented and passionate individuals and partners. This is where our ‘call for walls’ comes in. It’s a truly democratic way to have the public and local businesses involved in where the art might be placed.

“We can’t wait to see what comes in and to get feedback from artists who will be with us next year. We’ll be in town shortly to scout locations, and the more options we get the better.”

Shaun Hose, Assistant Director of Rockspring, which owns Aberdeen Indoor Market, which was the centrepiece of the inaugural festival has encouraged property owners to come forward.

He said:

“Rockspring have been fortunate enough to work with Nuart on three artworks which exceeded our expectations. The art is now an integral part of the Indoor Market space overlooking The Green and the trendy Merchant Quarter.

“We are proud to have worked with Aberdeen Inspired and Nuart by providing them with a canvass to enhance the urban landscape and breathe life back into our building.

“We and the stakeholders of the Merchant Quarter have benefited from Nuart Aberdeen and look forward to working with them again on other projects whilst continue to invest in Aberdeen.”

The call for walls comes as discussions with Aberdeen City Council are ongoing to secure Nuart Aberdeen for the future.

Councillor Jenny Laing, Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader, said,

“Aberdeen City Council was both proud and delighted to be the joint delivery partner for Nuart Aberdeen this year.

“The festival showed the very best of the Granite City and this is reinforced by the overwhelming response to the festival by residents and visitors alike. It is therefore right that discussions with partners are continuing as to how the council can best support this very special festival going forward.”

Walls must be in a good condition for paining and interested parties should contact the Nuart Aberdeen project team via: 01224 566291 or email: callforwalls@aberdeeninspired.com

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district.

For more information about the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk

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Oct 132017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Organisers of Aberdeen Comedy Festival have hailed residents and visitors who have flocked to see their favourite comedians and urged people to enjoy the final weekend of shows.

Now in its second year, the eleven-day festival, which is delivered by Aberdeen Inspired, started on Thursday, October 5 and will run until Sunday, October 15.

Festival organisers have urged comedy fans not to miss out on the final shows over the weekend as the comedy extravaganza culminates with a final show at Aberdeen Arts Centre at 8pm on Sunday evening with Paul Tonkinson.

Best known for his presenting work on The Big Breakfast and the Sunday Show, Paul will be joined by guests, Mick Ferry, Carey Marx and Ray Bradshaw.

Sponsored by McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, the festival has attracted large crowds to stand-up comedy shows at a number of city centre venues.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, is delighted with the response from the public who have turned out in numbers to enjoy the shows.

He said:

“Support for this year’s comedy festival has been fantastic and feedback from customers, volunteers and city centre venues has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Many of the shows have been attracting strong numbers or even selling out which is very pleasing and shows there’s a very strong demand for a comedy festival in the city.

“Though we’re entering the last few days of the festival it’s not too late to enjoy some comedy gold at one of Scotland’s top comedy festivals. We hope people join us over the weekend as the festival draws to a close at Aberdeen Arts Centre on Sunday evening.

“It’s great to see that people are travelling to the city from Aberdeenshire and further afield to see their favourite comedians on stage. They’re giving a welcome boost to our city centre businesses, restaurants and hotels, which is one of the main aims of the festival.” 

Tickets for Aberdeen Comedy Festival, which has been organised with programming partner Breakneck Comedy, can be bought at The Lemon Tree or HMT Box Offices as well as online via the Aberdeen Box Office website or: www.aberdeencomedyfestival.com/whats-on/

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Sep 282017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Stand-up comedy fans will be able to laugh along with their favourite comedians when Aberdeen Comedy Festival makes its return next week.
Launched by Aberdeen Inspired in 2016, the eleven-day festival will run from Thursday, October 5 to Sunday, October 15.

One of the largest of its kind in the country and full of laughs from start to finish it will feature local, national and international comedians who are scheduled to perform more than 50 shows at over 20 city centre venues.

The festival, which is becoming a firm fixture on the Aberdeen comedy scene, will also include free stand-up shows, comedy workshops for children and adults, kids shows, local talent showcases and comedy films screened at the Belmont Filmhouse.

Sponsored by McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, the festival’s format includes solo stand-up performances as well as mixed bill shows where several comedians take to the stage.

Described as the Canadian Billy Connolly, Craig Campbell will headline the launch of the festival at the Lemon Tree in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA).

Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay, who performed at the festival last year, will make a return alongside other comedians, including Daliso Chaponda who reached the finals of Britain’s Got Talent this year, Justin Moorhouse, Gary Delaney, Andrew Maxwell and Shazia Mirza.

Free lunchtime shows will be held at McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale at 1pm on Tuesday, October 10 and Wednesday, October 11.

‘Lunchtime Laughs,’ which are suitable for those aged 18 and over, will feature talented Scottish comedians Rosco McClelland, Gary Faulds, Gareth Mutch and Ross Leslie.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The first Aberdeen Comedy Festival was a tremendous success and we’re delighted to have another fantastic line-up of comedians for the public to enjoy this year.

“There was a great buzz in the city centre during the festival and we received a lot of positive feedback from the public and city centre businesses who saw an increase in trade through hosting stand-up shows.

“A lot of work has been done to organise the festival this year and I’m sure the public will want to take advantage of this opportunity to see an impressive range of comedians in the city centre.”

Alan Aitken, Operations Director of McGinty’s, said:

“We’re very proud to support Aberdeen Comedy Festival again this year and play our part to bring cultural events to the city.

“The comedians who will be on stage for our free ‘Lunchtime Laughs’ shows are fantastic and we hope the free entry will attract large numbers to help us create a great atmosphere for all the performances.

“We will be running a few offers during the festival including a set price menu for the lunch time shows and we think it will be a great excuse for the local businesses to gather the team for some light-hearted lunchtime fun.”

McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale will also host two free 4pm shows on Friday, October 6 and Friday, October 13 and the public will be able to enjoy some free late-night laughs on the Thursday, October 12 at 10pm with Ross Leslie and Jim Smith.

This year the festival also has comedy workshops and shows for children and young people. A School of Comedy workshop for teens will be held at The Lemon Tree on Saturday, October 14 from 10am to 1pm.

The event is for young people aged between 12 and 18 and will be hosted by young comedian Andrew Sim who will lead workshops designed to encourage and support new stand-up comedians.

A kids’ comedy hour will also run on Saturday, October 14 at 2pm at the Belmont Filmhouse.

Comedians Tiernan Douieb and Bec Hill will perform a child-friendly show suitable for those aged six and over.

On Saturday, October 7 the Belmont Filmhouse will also host a special Filmhouse Junior screening of Disney’s Aladdin at 11am, starring Robin Williams as the voice of the Genie.

Tickets for Aberdeen Comedy Festival, which has been organised with programming partner Breakneck Comedy, can be bought at The Lemon Tree or HMT Box Offices as well as online via the Aberdeen Box Office website or www.aberdeencomedyfestival.com/whats-on/

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Sep 022017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Aberdeen businesses have reported a significant boost in trade over the weekend following large crowds in the city centre for Celebrate Aberdeen and the Great Aberdeen Run.
Business organisation Aberdeen Inspired has been in touch with traders to assess the impact of the two events – with initial feedback highlighting that some saw an increase of more than 30 percent increase in sales compared to a normal weekend.

Thousands of people spent time in the heart of the city as part of the Celebrate Aberdeen parade and musical performances over Saturday and Sunday as well as the Great Aberdeen Run.

Julie Haig, owner of Haigs Food Hall, said:

“Sunday was really special and to see Union Street geared up for such a great running event was fantastic. The buzz it created in the city was amazing.

“The sense of community spirit I felt over the weekend makes me proud to be an Aberdonian. We saw a significant increase in footfall over the weekend and we would like to thank the people of Aberdeen for coming out and supporting these wonderful events.”

Union Street McDonald’s franchise owner, Craig Duncan, added:

“Sales at breakfast were more than double what we would expect on a normal Sunday and overall for the day there was an increase of more than 30 percent. It’s great to see these big events come to our city and hopefully we’ll see more in the future.”

Craig Willox, owner of Books and Beans, also saw a significant increase in trade which was also boosted by the substantial number of people who visited the Belmont Street Market.

He said:

“This was the busiest weekend of the year for us so far. The Belmont Street Market on Saturday was even bigger than the one in July and looked even better attended. We also had a queue of people waiting outside before we even opened before the Great Aberdeen Run.”

Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired, praised the work of everyone who worked to deliver Celebrate Aberdeen and the Great Aberdeen Run

He said:

“To see the thousands of runners and well-wishers descend on our city over the weekend was very pleasing indeed and we are very proud to have worked with Aberdeen City Council and the other key partners to help deliver Celebrate Aberdeen and the Great Aberdeen Run over the weekend.

“This success clearly demonstrates the growing ambition we have for this city and we look forward to welcoming even more runners, from the city, region and beyond, for next year’s event as it establishes itself nationally as a ‘must attend’ event on the circuit.

“Of course, an acid test for my organisation is business feedback and the initial soundings from many of the retailers in the city centre has been very encouraging indeed.

“We’re now looking to the opening night of the Aberdeen Comedy Festival on Thursday, October 5, with this event being the third largest of its kind in the country, after proving hugely popular last year.

“We again look to the north-east public to come out in force to enjoy this great offering, as well as reach out to those from further afield, as the festival also establishes itself as another event that people will travel to the city to be part of.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Sep 022017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Stand-up comedy fans from across the north-east will be able to laugh along with their favourite comedians as tickets for Aberdeen Comedy Festival are now on sale.

Launched by Aberdeen Inspired in 2016, the eleven-day festival will run from Thursday, October 5 to Sunday, October 15.

Full of laughs from start to finish it features local, national and international comedians who will perform over 50 comedy shows in the Granite City at more than 25 city centre venues.

The festival will also include free stand-up shows, comedy workshops for children and adults, kids shows, local talent showcases and comedy films screened at the Belmont Filmhouse.

Sponsored by McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, the festival format has been changed this year to include a selection of one man stand up shows as well as mixed bills where several comedians take to the stage.

Shows will also be staggered so comedy fans have the chance to attend several without having to choose between events starting at the same time.

Described as the Canadian Billy Connolly, Craig Campbell will headline the launch of the festival at the Lemon Tree in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA).

Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay, who performed at the festival last year, will make a return alongside other comedians, including Daliso Chaponda (pictured above) who reached the finals of Britain’s Got Talent this year, Justin Moorhouse, Gary Delaney, Andrew Maxwell and Shazia Mirza.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’re delighted to have launched the second year of Aberdeen Comedy Festival and are looking forward to the opening night at The Lemon Tree in October.

“There has been a fantastic buzz in the city since we announced that the festival would return for a second year and we are sure there will be great interest in the wide range of comedians and shows that will be on offer.

“The first year of the festival was such an overwhelming success we expect a high demand for all of the shows and would recommend people buy their tickets early to avoid disappointment.

“Our ambition with the festival is to source the best comedy for both residents and visitors to enjoy and we hope the public will take advantage of this opportunity to see a varied range of comedy in the city centre.”

More than 3,100 tickets were sold during the laughter filled extravaganza in 2016, as well as over 1,500 tickets from APA and Beach Ballroom promoted events.

This year the festival also has comedy workshops and shows for children and young people. A School of Comedy workshop for teens will be held at The Lemon Tree on Saturday, October 14 from 10am to 1pm.

The event is for young people aged between 12 and 18 and will be hosted by young comedian Andrew Sim who will lead workshops designed to encourage and support new stand-up comedians.

A kids’ comedy hour will also run on Saturday, October 14 at 2pm at the Belmont Filmhouse. Comedians Tiernan Douieb and Bec Hill (pictured left) will perform a child friendly show suitable for those aged 6+.

On Saturday, October 7 the Belmont Filmhouse will also host a special Filmhouse Junior screening of Disney’s Aladdin at 11am, starring the unforgettable Robin Williams as the voice of the Genie.

Free lunchtime shows will also be held at McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale at 1pm on Tuesday, October 10 and Wednesday October 11.

‘Lunchtime Laughs,’ which are suitable for those aged 18 and over, will feature talented Scottish comedians Rosco McClelland, Gary Faulds, Gareth Mutch and Ross Leslie.

Alan Aitken, Operations Director of McGinty’s, said:

“As a local business, it’s great to welcome cultural events like Aberdeen Comedy Festival to our city and following its very successful debut last year, we’re very proud to support the event again.

“It was great to see the people from Aberdeen and around the north-east out in force and enjoying a laugh during the festival, and we hope to see even more this year.”

Tickets for Aberdeen Comedy Festival which has been organised with programming partner Breakneck Comedy can be bought in person at The Lemon Tree or HMT Box Offices and they are also available online at: www.aberdeencomedyfestival.com/whats-on/

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Aug 252017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

A leading Aberdeen business organisation has hailed the impact of a popular street market which has returned to the heart of the city.

The Belmont Street Market, which is now under the management of Moray Farmers Market Ltd, returned on the final Saturday in July after last being held in May.

Aberdeen Inspired has reported a 26 percent increase in Belmont Street footfall that day, compared to the final Saturday in June when there was no market.

The market, which will next be held on Saturday, August 26 from 9am to 4pm, will run on the last Saturday of each month and in December it will run every Saturday prior to Christmas. 

A firm fixture in Aberdeen, the market had been running for 17 years under previous ownership. It will now boast several new stalls, including: Garay’s Bakery, Sweet Toots Cakery, The Rookery, and Little Squares of Heaven bakery.

Aberdeen Inspired worked with the new owners to reintroduce the market to the city centre and bring back an important part of retail activity in the area.

Geoff Cooper, Aberdeen Inspired city centre manager, said:

“We’re very pleased to see the impact the return of the Belmont Street Market has had on footfall figures in the area. The market was always very popular and its clear it makes a significant impact.

“The market brings a lot of energy and vibrancy to Belmont Street and many street retailers in the area have also reported an increase in trade while the market is on which is great to hear.

“We hope people continue to support the market so it can have a sustainable future for many more years to come.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

Aug 202017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

North-east artists have been adding their own splash of colour to Aberdeen city centre as part of an annual project to promote arts and culture. Aberdeen Inspired’s Summer of Art programme is already in full swing this year with a range of creative projects being held across the city centre, including the Painted Doors project.

The project will see artists work on decorative paintings on doors of local businesses, shops and other premises on Langstane Place, Windmill Brae and around Aberdeen Market until the end of the month.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The Summer of Art programme is about working in partnership with local artists to make art accessible to all, as well as being a fantastic way to utilise and brighten the city centre.

“Our Painted Doors project is underway again following a very successful debut last year. Several new doors have already been completed and there are more in the pipeline to be completed before the end of August.”

As part of Summer of Art, plans are also being developed for the city centres first outdoor creative space which will allow artists to use a wall in the near Aberdeen Market at the East Green, as a canvass to create their own colourful murals following the successful Nuart Aberdeen Festival earlier this year.

Mary Butterworth, Summer of Art Curator, said:

“It has been an amazing year for art and culture in Aberdeen, it’s been a joy to see it all so well received by the public and the creative community is buzzing. 

“Last year’s Summer of Art was a catalyst for change in the city and I was proud to curate the Painted Doors project with Aberdeen Inspired. The project recognised our city’s artists and put stunning artworks on the street for the public to enjoy. Public appetite for street art is overwhelming and this was demonstrated by the success of Nuart Aberdeen.

“Aberdeen’s own creativity, sometimes overlooked, has always been here but now we can see it every day, in our doorways and on our streets.

“This year we’re adding new doors and artists to the Painted Doors line up, building upon the foundation we laid last year. Seeing art and all forms of creativity and culture on the streets is a vital part of the energy and atmosphere of any city. 

“We have worked hard on creating some new initiatives for this year’s Summer of Art, including developing plans for a creative space, to inspire the public to get involved and unleash more of that local creative energy.”

Aberdeen Inspired is also now reviewing applications for its Grass Roots fund which was launched to support the delivery of local and independent creative arts projects and interventions in the city centre over the summer.

The programme aims to cultivate and support ideas and talent in Aberdeen whilst enriching the heart of the city with street and visual arts as well as music and drama this summer. Applications were sought from individuals and groups for grants in three categories: up to £500; up to £2,000; and more than £2,000.

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Aug 042017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Comedian Justin Moorhouse will hold his show at NOX nightclub.

Organisers of Aberdeen Comedy Festival have signed up several new venues across the city centre as they announce a new and improved format for this year.
A total of ten new venues have signed up to host stand-up shows in the Granite City later this year, bringing the total number of venues to 27.
Launched by Aberdeen Inspired in 2016, this years’ festival will run from Thursday, October 5 to Sunday,
October 15.

The eleven-day festival, which has been organised with programming partner Breakneck Comedy, will feature national and international comedians performing across the city centre.

New venues for 2017 include, the Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen Douglas Hotel, Sing City, La Lombarda Basement Bar, The Shack, The Wild Boar, Spin, NOX, Lemon Tree, and the Wee Glen situated in Glentanar Bar.

Venues for the festival now range from a capacity of 30 seats at the Wee Glen to 350 seats at Aberdeen Arts Centre, giving organisers venues around the city centre to suit to suit any act or audience.

Comedian Justin Moorhouse will hold his show at NOX nightclub and the Belmont Filmhouse will screen several comedy movies throughout the festival, including Airplane! and Wayne’s World.

Sponsored by McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, the festival will comprise over 50 events, including five free stand-up shows, comedy workshops for children and adults, kids shows, and local talent showcases.

The festival format has been changed this year to include a selection of solo performances as well as shows with several comedians taking to the stage.

Shows will also be staggered so comedy fans have the opportunity to attend several without having to choose between events starting at the same time.

Described as the Canadian Billy Connolly, Craig Campbell will headline the launch of the festival at the Lemon Tree in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA).

Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay, who performed at the festival last year, will make a return alongside other comedians, including Patrick Monahan, Gary Delaney and Shazia Mirza – who have all recently featured on a range of panel shows on TV.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We’re delighted to welcome our new venues to Aberdeen Comedy Festival this year. It’s great to have more businesses involved after the festival’s very successful debut in 2016.

“It really captured the imagination and people turned out in large numbers for shows across the city centre which had a positive knock-on effect for businesses. As well as Aberdonians, we welcomed people from the wider north-east area and beyond who were keen to see comedy shows.

“The full line-up will be announced soon and we hope people will take the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic range of comedy which will be performed on their doorstep.”

More than 3,100 tickets were sold during the laughter filled extravaganza in 2016, as well as over 1,500 tickets from APA and Beach Ballroom promoted events.

Gavin Paterson, general manager of Aberdeen Douglas Hotel, said:

“Aberdeen Comedy Festival is a fantastic opportunity for businesses in the city centre to showcase their venues and host stand-up shows for the public.

“When we saw how successful the festival was in its first year we were very keen to play our part in 2017 and we are delighted to be hosting both Australian comic Damian Clark and the returning Billy Kirkwood who really impressed Aberdonian crowds last year.”

Colin Farquhar, Belmont Filmhouse cinema manager, added:

“We’re very excited to be involved in this year’s Aberdeen Comedy Festival. It’s another great string to the city’s cultural bow and we’re delighted that as well as screening some classic comedies, we’re able to host a few stand-up performances too.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Jul 282017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

A leading Aberdeen business organisation has welcomed the return of a popular street market to the heart of the city.

The Belmont Street Market, which is now under the management of Moray Farmers Market Ltd, will return to the city centre on Saturday, July 29 from 9am to 3pm.

It will be held on the last Saturday of the month and in December the market will run every Saturday prior to Christmas. 

The market, which was last held in May, had been running for 17 years under previous ownership.

Aberdeen Inspired has been working with the new owners to reintroduce the market to the city centre and bring back an important part of retail activity in the area.

Geoff Cooper, Aberdeen Inspired city centre manager, said:

“We’re very pleased to have supported the return of the Belmont Street market which was always very popular with residents and visitors to the city centre.

“The market brings a lot of energy and vibrancy to Belmont Street and it is great to see the large crowds who visit the stalls throughout the day. Many of the favourite stalls will be returning and the market will also showcase local products from Aberdeen and the wider North-east.

“We hope people turn out and support the re-launched market so it can have a sustainable future for many more years to come.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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