Enterprising Braemar Community up for award

Enterprising Braemar Community up for award
The Press and Journal

RESTORING a castle, renewable energy projects and providing affordable housing for rent are just a few of the activities which not-for-profit organisation Braemar Community Ltd has undertaken during 2007 and 2008.

It is these major achievements that have led the organisation to the finals of this year’s Alick Buchanan-Smith Spirit of Enterprise Award category at the 2008 Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise.

The awards recognise business achievement in the north-east and reward growing businesses, established firms and inspiring entrepreneurs.

The annual Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise are organised by Enterprise North East Trust (ENET) and sponsored by The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Scottish Enterprise.

Braemar Community Ltd was formed in November, 2004, to undertake the development and operation of major projects on behalf of the Braemar community. Membership of the organisation is open to all residents within the Braemar postcode area, with 75% of the adult population being members.

The projects carried out are no mean feat. The organisation’s environmental policies include being subjected to an environmental impact assessment, adopting appropriate environmental standards and complying with all environmental regulations.

Bill Marshall, secretary of Braemar Community Ltd, says: “The overall objective of the organisation is to ensure the viability of the community through the continuum of sustainable development.

“The Braemar community was under serious threat through the loss of housing and the emigration of young people who could see no future in the village.

“Through the work of the organisation there are now new businesses and young families establishing themselves in the village.

“The company has deliberately followed a policy of involving younger people and getting them to serve as directors, and there is now a real ‘can do, will do’ attitude within the community.”

Mark Gall, regional director of commercial banking for RBS, says: “This is a truly outstanding and unique organisation which embodies the phrase, community spirit.

“By working together, the local residents are improving the area for themselves and their families, but also for tourists. Braemar Community Ltd is a well deserving finalist in this category and I wish them the best of luck on the evening.”

Bill concludes: “It is a major achievement for the organisation to be named as a finalist in the Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise, particularly as one of our biggest projects, the restoration of Braemar Castle, has come to fruition and is open to the public.

“The castle is an iconic building in Braemar and, by involving the community in its restoration, they can now feel real ownership and involvement. We still have several plans in the pipeline, including further development of the castle as a major education resource and tourist facility, and we are working to build a bridge across the Dee to give direct access to the Cairngorms.

“It would be a major coup to win the Enterprise award in recognition of all the hard work demonstrated by the community members and to further raise the profile of Braemar.”

The winners of all the awards will receive a special handcrafted trophy, while the winner of the Sir Ian Wood Award will also receive a cheque for £5,000. The trophies and cash prize will be presented at a black-tie awards dinner at Ardoe House Hotel, near Aberdeen, on Thursday, June 12.

Tickets are now available, priced £80 per guest (plus VAT) or £800 (plus VAT) for a table of 10. The event begins with a champagne reception at 7pm, with carriages at 12.30am. Tickets for the event can be booked by calling Samantha Welsh on 01224 289796, or e-mailing samantha.welsh@enetrust.com

Tickets are expected to be in demand as the event has been a sellout each year since its inception. More information about the awards can be found at www.grampianawards.com or by calling 01224 289745.
Braemar Castle is now open to the public. Bottom left, one of the restored bedrooms in the castle