Straight Outta Mannofield: Aberdeen music scene supports young people

POST readers know that Aberdeen has a rich music scene. But now it's coming together to support a local community group. Mannofield Explorer Scouts, an Aberdeen Scout group, has taken the initiative to create a compilation album titled "Straight Outta Mannofield."

The project aims to raise vital funds to provide unforgettable experiences for the youth while showcasing the incredible talent of local musicians. Set to be released on 30th June, the album features 20 renowned artists from Aberdeen and the northeast, including The Xcerts, Cold Years, and The Little Kicks.

Best Girl Athlete

Exclusive, previously unreleased tracks

The compilation album, available for pre-order on, encompasses a range of genres, from indie and rock to alternative, jazz, blues, and folk. It showcases established acts that have toured the world and emerging artists, offering listeners a snapshot of our remarkable music scene.

"Straight Outta Mannofield" promises a great musical experience, with exclusive, previously unreleased tracks by artists such as The Xcerts, Best Girl Athlete, The Lorelei, CS Buchan, and Wendell Borton. This compilation is a celebration of local talent and a testament to the dedication and generosity of the artists who have donated their songs to the project. Their support demonstrates the power of community and the impact that can be achieved when people work together.

The Xcerts | Photo credit Zak Pinchin

Incredible opportunities for young people

The brainchild of Mannofield Explorer Scouts' leader, Eoin Smith, "Straight Outta Mannofield" is the result of a collective effort. The Explorers actively participated in the album's development. From the album's title and artwork, designed by Explorer Scout Lewis Bodkin, to the selection of tracks, the young people were at the forefront of creating a project that truly reflects their experiences and aspirations.

The funds raised through this compilation album will play a crucial role in supporting Mannofield Explorer Scouts' mission to provide incredible opportunities for young people in Aberdeen. As the largest Explorer Scout Unit in the city, they bring together over 30 individuals aged 14-18, offering a youth-led program that fosters personal growth, friendship, and skill development. Especially in these challenging times, where the pandemic has emphasised the need for safe spaces and engaging activities, the role of Scouts in nurturing resilience, self-expression, and a sense of community has become increasingly important.

Cold Years | photo credit Adina Scharfenberg

Immense musical talent

"Straight Outta Mannofield" not only showcases the immense musical talent of Aberdeen but also serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and the dedication of Mannofield Explorer Scouts. By pre-ordering the album or donating, you can support this fantastic cause and contribute to the memorable experiences that will shape the lives of Aberdeen's young people. Celebrate the remarkable music scene of the northeast while investing in the future of our community.

For more information, follow Mannofield Explorer Scouts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

View of Aberdeen exhibition paints vibrant portrait of the city

Discover the vibrant voices of our diverse community at the View of Aberdeen exhibition, set to open its doors at Aberdeen Art Gallery tomorrow. This thrilling new exhibition contains contributions from many people in the city. It's a celebration of the myriad perspectives and experiences that shape the city, offering a platform to amplify the unique stories of its people.

View of Aberdeen embarks on a captivating journey through the collective narratives that form the rich tapestry of our city. Through a carefully curated selection of artworks, artefacts, and interactive displays, the exhibition brings to life the voices and visions of our residents. It illuminates their connections to Aberdeen in profound and inspiring ways.

Street-sweepers (Skaffies) Outside St Nicholas House | Aberdeen Art Gallery

View of Aberdeen - All walks of life

The team at Aberdeen Art Gallery has had conversations with people from all walks of life across the city. They have captured their thoughts and reflections on what Aberdeen means to them. The exhibition brings these viewpoints to life through a collection of inspiring artworks and objects that have resonated with the community. Each piece illuminates the exhibition's core themes: 'far I bide' (where I live), 'chavvin awa' (working), going 'oot n aboot' (out and about), and the city's well-known treasures, 'weel kent'.

A special event takes place on 10 June. Aberdeen Art Gallery is also hosting a special event that explores the intriguing journey of artefacts into museums. This event delves into how and why certain items find their place in museum collections. Join Madeline Nehring and Ross MacLennan as they provide insights into the development of the new View of Aberdeen gallery. This event aims to continue the engaging conversations that started at the memorable 'That Belongs in a Museum!' event last autumn.

The cultural tapestry of Aberdeen

Immerse yourself in the captivating stories of those who call Aberdeen home. From long-time residents to newcomers, students to professionals, and from all walks of life. Their perspectives weave together to paint a vibrant portrait of our city's identity. It's great to see the gallery celebrating the rich cultural tapestry of Aberdeen. It explores the profound meaning behind our shared heritage.

Whether you're a native Aberdonian, a resident, a student, or simply visiting, this exhibition offers a unique opportunity to delve into the essence of the Granite City. It's a great chance to experience its resilience and allure.

The View of Aberdeen exhibition opens at Aberdeen Art Gallery on Saturday 27 May. You can read more about the View of Aberdeen Project here. Cover Image by James Furneaux.

Search begins for new owner of The Belmont

Exciting developments are underway for the Belmont Cinema. An Aberdeen City Council committee has given the green light to begin the search for a new operator for the beloved independent cinema.

The Council commissioned a feasibility report from cinema specialists Mustard Studio. They suggested options to establish a sustainable cultural cinema program, drawing on successful examples from similar operations elsewhere.

A diverse film program

The report identified several critical factors for success. These include prioritising the customer experience, offering a diverse film program that appeals to local audiences, providing quality food and beverages, and making necessary improvements to the building.

With the approval from the Council, the next step involves inviting potential operators to outline their proposed solutions. They will also be asked demonstrate their competence in operating the cinema sustainably. This process will also assess the capital requirements of each operator's model.

By the community, for the community

Our friends at the Save the Belmont Campaign expressed their delight at the Council's decision. They believe that a cinema run "by the community, for the community" is the best option for ensuring the long-term sustainability of an arthouse cinema in Aberdeen.

Their statement was clear on the challenges saying: "We're not oblivious to the scale of the challenge ahead of us, to modernise the building and continue to grow and welcome audiences back to the cinema. But we will endeavour to produce a robust business plan that will put education, information, entertainment and the community at the heart of the future of the Belmont."

Breathe life into The Belmont

Seeking a new operator through market testing will hopefully secure a vibrant future for the Belmont Cinema. This iconic venue holds great cultural significance in the city. The right partner must share the vision of creating an outstanding independent cinema experience for the community.

The Council's commitment to exploring options and involving the community in the decision-making is a smart move. It demonstrates a dedication to preserving and enhancing Aberdeen's cultural landscape. This will ensure that residents and visitors can enjoy the magic of cinema in a unique and sustainable setting.

The team here at POST hopes that a suitable operator will be found. Someone who not only appreciates the heritage of the Belmont Cinema but also has the expertise and passion to breathe life into this cherished cultural venue.

Neurodiversity forum marks return of the Umbrella Project

In a heartening display of community engagement, over 600 parents and teachers have signed up for free events that support neurodiverse children and young people. And the city will soon see the return of its popular displays of coloured umbrellas.

The demand for the opening event on 29 May has been overwhelming. Organiser, Aberdeen Inspired, had to relocate it to a larger venue at Robert Gordon College.

Empowering parents

'Supporting Your Neurodiverse Child' will cover topics empowering parents with tools and techniques to help. Participants can expect insights into parenting strategies that foster a neurodiverse-friendly home environment. There is also guidance on raising academic achievement for the one in five pupils who identify as neurodiverse.

For those unable to secure a slot, there is another opportunity to engage with the subject matter. The following day there is the option to attend the Neurodiversity in the Workplace - Unlocking Potential and Driving Innovation conference. Both events have been organised to coincide with the return of the widely acclaimed ADHD Foundation Umbrella Project to Aberdeen.

Return of umbrella project

And soon, the city will be adorned with strings of coloured umbrellas. These symbolise the diversity encompassed by the umbrella term "neurodiversity." This term includes ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia. The one-day conference will be held at the Douglas Hotel on Market Street. Right beside the Shiprow installation of coloured umbrellas.

The conference boasts an impressive lineup of speakers and contributors. Comedian Joe Wells will share his unique perspective. He is known for his viral clip shedding light on the challenges of having a non-autistic sibling. Dr Tony Lloyd of the ADHD Foundation, Adrian Watson of Aberdeen Inspired, and Professor Amanda Kirby of Do-It Solutions and Chair of the ADHD Foundation, will also lend their expertise to the discussion.

The power of neurodiversity networks

Attendees can look forward to discussions on topics such as web-based screening tools in the workplace, maintaining safe environments, strategies for supporting neurodiverse staff, and the power of neurodiversity networks. In addition, there'll be a live recording of the podcast 'ADHD As Females.' This brilliant show has garnered an impressive 500,000 downloads across 182 countries.

While the official Shiprow umbrella installation will be a sight to behold, various businesses, schools, and organisations, including P&J Live at TECA, will also host private displays, adding their support for neurodiversity in the community.

Understanding and inclusivity

Roulè Wood from Aberdeen Inspired, said: “The phenomenal demand for the sessions for parents and carers is unprecedented and really shows how much need there is for help and resources to support children who are neurodiverse. We are also looking forward to supporting businesses and helping them to understand how best to work with colleagues who are neurodiverse”

These events provide an incredible opportunity for parents, educators, and professionals to gather, share knowledge, and create an environment where neurodiverse individuals can thrive. The city is paving the way for a more accepting and supportive society by fostering understanding and inclusivity.

Greyhope Bay Needs Your Vote

Greyhope Bay has called on the people of Aberdeen to support their bid for National Lottery funding through The People's Projects. By voting for Greyhope Bay, you can help them secure funding to create a unique learning program and establish a community platform for decision-making.

This funding will be instrumental in their vision of transforming the Torry Battery historical site into a vibrant destination that celebrates Aberdeen's coastal and built heritage.

A community-led transformation

At the heart of Greyhope Bay's project lies the Greyhope Bay Centre. This "off-grid" green-powered eco-facility was constructed by repurposing shipping containers. This innovative approach aligns with their commitment to sustainability. A symbol of their dedication to the environment. Through a 5-year plan, they've fostered a strong connection between the city its unique coastal heritage.

Greyhope Bay's journey has been bolstered by community involvement and support. Led by a small, passionate team, the project has evolved with each milestone. This is truly thanks to the active participation of the Torry and Aberdeen communities. By intentionally creating opportunities for engagement, Greyhope Bay has made its project a collective endeavour. They need your support to secure the funding required to take the project to the next level.

An opportunity to rebalance

The People's Projects initiative provides crucial grants to community groups across the UK. After a 3-year hiatus, The National Lottery Community Fund, ITV, UTV, and the Sunday Mail (in Scotland) have joined forces to give the public a voice in deciding how National Lottery funding should be utilised in their local areas. In Scotland, the top nine projects with the most public votes will receive grants of up to £70,000, making a genuine difference in people's lives, particularly during these challenging times.

Since its opening in April 2022, the Greyhope Bay Centre has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. However, the centre's size limits its ability to meet the high demand for the café and community workshops. The next phase is an opportunity to rebalance activities, moving them into the outdoor environment. This shift will allow visitors to directly engage with the heritage of the Torry Battery. They'll create a space that incorporates the entire site while enhancing the visitor experience.

Greyhope Bay has inspired communities around the UK

Greyhope Bay’s Fiona McIntyre said: “The People’s Projects has given us an amazing opportunity to raise awareness locally and nationally in support of our work and, with your help, secure this additional much-needed funding. If we win, our project will make a real difference to our local community by building our capacity to deliver meaningful accessible art and learning programmes, create opportunities to shape the future of the project as we expand and inspire communities around the UK to do the same with their local heritage.”

Greyhope Bay is reaching out to the public, urging their valuable support for a chance to win. Voting runs until 26 May 2023. Your vote can make a significant difference in helping Greyhope Bay achieve its goals. Don't miss your opportunity to be part of this exciting endeavour.

The Fittie, Aberdeen

Exploring the Fittie from the past into the future with Lesley Anne Rose

With a new exhibition, Fittie, Past, Present and Possibility taking place this weekend, we caught up with Lesley Anne Rose of Open Road. We wanted to get her insight into the project and what to expect. As a seasoned producer and writer, she has a diverse background in producing community projects like this.

Open Road is a hard working Aberdeen creative production team. They have a real passion for collaborating and creating projects that celebrate people, place, and sustainability. The company was founded by Lesley Anne and Alison Louise Merrett who shared an interest in community engagement, arts, and culture.

As a team, they focus on producing diverse and inclusive projects that positively impact communities. Their work spans art forms, including theatre, festivals, and community events. They also engage in research, in heritage projects, and in initiatives related to climate change and sustainability.

Granite Fittie Community Hall basking in the sunshine, with a blue bicycle in front of it. Markings on front show it was built in 1951.
Photo by Chris Sansbury

Can you tell us more about the Safe Harbour Open Sea project?

Safe Harbour Open Sea is a Culture Collective project, a national fund. It is aimed at establishing a network of creative practitioners, organisations and communities, working together to create a positive difference locally and nationally in response to COVID-19.

Open Road applied to be part of Culture Collective and for this project. We are working in partnership with the Fittie Community Development Trust (FCDT). They are a charitable organisation established to support the harbourside community of Footdee, known by its Scots language name of Fittie. The FCDT lead the development of the accessible, community-owned Gospel Hall as a community hub to improve the well-being of residents.

Through Safe Harbour Open Sea we aimed to bring culture into the heart of the community. We wanted to help breathe life back into the Community Hall as it re-opened post-lockdown and underwent a large-scale renovation. We also wanted to gather some of the stories of the past of the community and turn an eye to the future by putting on events and stimulating action around the future of Fittie in the face of a changing climate.

What is the inspiration behind the Fittie Past, Present & Possibility exhibition?

Fittie Past, Present & Possibility brings together all of the strands of work and activity are undertaken over the past eighteen months of Safe Harbour Open Sea. We were determined to end the project well for the sake of the community, artists, funders and Open Road. Also to showcase what the project has achieved and the wider scope of Culture Collective. We're also keen to enable the harbour area of Aberdeen to find its voice beneath the noise of oil and gas. Aberdeen Harbour has a rich history, vibrant present and important future. Communities and individuals linked with the harbour need to find their voice, especially with the Tall Ships on the way in 2025.

Fittie from the Beach | Photo by Chris Sansbury

How has Fittie’s history and heritage influenced the creative projects and podcasts initiated by Safe Harbour Open Sea?

An example of how Fittie’s history and heritage have influenced this project is the work of Aberdeenshire artist Victoria Fifield. She interviewed current and former Fittie residents of varying ages and backgrounds and transformed their stories into a book. Sea Change: Stories From Footdee and Voices of Footdee is an audio trail which invites visitors to listen to residents talk about life in the village's past and present as they explore the area. Fittie receives a large number of visitors each year and Victoria’s work has enabled residents to share their stories of Fittie, past, present and hopes for the future, in their own words.

Through our Harbour Voices Podcast, we’ve given voice to the past by interviewing people such as Ross MacLennan, History Curator at Aberdeen Archives, Gallery and Museums and Katy Kavanagh, Senior Archivist at Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Achieves.

What are some of the ways that Fittie has been a unique sea-facing community, nestled against a global oil port?

The first recorded reference to the area of Fittie was in 1398. There has been a settlement here since Medieval times. The village standing today was built in the 19th century and is a former fishing community. It was designed by John Smith, the architect responsible for Balmoral Castle.

On a map dated 1828, the newly built Fittie Squares and surrounding area were referred to as ‘Fish Town’. All of Fittie’s houses are built in squares and face inwards with their backs towards the sea. This both protects residents from storms but also creates a strong sense of community. The very architecture of the village is quite special. Added to that Fittie is a village, but is classed as an urban area and separated from Aberdeen city centre by a large industrial area incorporating the harbour.

Tom, Dick and Harry | Photo by Chris Sansbury

You’ve spoken about the idea of “Good Ancestors.” I’m really interested in that. Could you elaborate on that concept? Tell us how it relates to the future of Fittie as a coastal community?

Safe Harbour Open Sea aimed to capture the story of Fittie's past and present, but also extend the village’s story into a possible future. We created a Map of Possibility for residents to add to what they would like to see in the village in the future. We asked the question ‘What do we need to do now to ensure we are good ancestors?’

This question is inspired by public philosopher Roman Krznaric’s book ‘The Good Ancestor.’ In this he encourages long-term thinking in a world that is increasingly dominated by short-termism as we scramble to reply to the latest social media post or keep up to speed with 24-hour news.

Krznaric invites us to travel back in time seven generations and imagine speaking with our ancestors. Sharing with them the decisions we would like them to make to ensure a fair healthy future world. He then invites us to imagine the generations that stand before us to step back to our time and tell us what actions we need to take to ensure we will be remembered well for taking care of the community, city, nation and world.

Fittie is seven generations old. Some houses in the village have been in the same family for those seven generations. It’s the perfect place to feel the presence of generations past and present and possible future.

How will the Fittie Past, Present & Possibility exhibition explore Fittie’s relationship with the sea and its history as an embarkation point for emigrating Scots?

Fittie is surrounded by water on three sides and the sea is a constant presence. Although no longer part of a fishing community, residents today maintain a strong connection to the sea and the village is home to several surfers, paddle boarders and wild swimmers. Residents refer to a daily awareness of the tides, which along with the regular arrivals and departures of the NorthLink ferries to and from Orkney and Shetland, mark out a different sense of time. Many people arrive to and depart from Aberdeen by sea, whether on NorthLink ferries, supply ships servicing the oil rigs or any of the other thousands of vessels that seek and leave safe harbour here.

Our Harbour Voices podcasts, which also feature in this exhibition, have given voice to Fittie’s relationship with the sea and harbour. For example, Fittie residents have traditionally volunteered for the Lifeboat Service or the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as it’s known today. We’ve interviewed Andy Haines, a Fittie resident and RNLI volunteer who’s shared a behind-the-scenes insight into life as an RNLI volunteer and the adrenaline rush of heading out on rescue during Storm Arwen. 

Fittie from Torry | Photo by Chris Sansbury

At the time Fittie was being built in the 19th century, Aberdeen Harbour was an embarkation port for emigrants leaving North East Scotland. Another of our Harbour Voices podcasts is with Professor Marjory Harper a Scottish historian with a focus on social history and emigration from the North East. She explained that the reason Aberdeen became an embarkation port was because of the trade in timber being imported into the harbour and North East Scotland via the St. Lawrence Seaway and Maritime Provinces in Eastern Canada.

Owners of the sailing ships that made the voyages across the Atlantic were also looking for paying cargo on the return journey. Emigrants to North America became just that. Around fifteen and half thousand emigrants left North East Scotland from Aberdeen harbour to make the 12-week journey by sea to a new life and new home. Mainly in North America.

How do community halls and similar spaces play their part in access to and participation in the cultural life of the city? 

We believe culture should be at the heart of communities. Community halls are an important part of this belief. They offer people a ‘third space’ in their lives. A space separate from home and the workplace where they can gather, socialise and engage in leisure and cultural activities. Access to these spaces has a positive impact on health and well-being and helps to forge cohesive, resilient communities.

A key part of Safe Harbour Open Sea was to help breathe life back into the Fittie Community Hall post a period of lockdown imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as asking what Fittie residents thought of their community hall and what they wanted it used for. Cultural events came out top.

Can you tell us more about the Culture Collective Scotland project? How does Safe Harbour Open Sea play its part?

Culture Collective is a network of 26 participatory arts projects, shaped by local communities alongside artists and creative organisations. Safe Harbour Open Sea is one of these 26 projects. Funded by Scottish Government emergency COVID-19 funds through Creative Scotland, these projects are taking place across Scotland from March 2021-October 2023. From Shetland to Inverclyde, Aberdeen to Hawick, each unique project is designed and driven by the community in which it is rooted, playing an important part in shaping the future cultural life of Scotland.

For the projects themselves, the Culture Collective provides a network: opportunities to share resources, learning and experiences. For the cultural sector as a whole, the Culture Collective shines a light on the crucial importance of participatory arts projects for artists, for communities and for the future.

Fittie 200 year celebrations | Photo by Chris Sansbury

And finally, what’s the most important lesson learned over your time working with the Fittie Community Trust?

Working at a hyper-local community level has changed my view of culture, who has access to it, and its potential to contribute towards health and wellbeing, tackling social isolation and the importance of communities knowing and owning the stories of our past, present and possible futures. Don’t take our word for it. Talk to people involved and who have participated. Their voices are more important than ours.

Thanks so much to Lesley Anne for sharing her insight. The show, Fittie, Past, Present and Possibility takes place at the Fittie Community Hall on New Pier Road. Opening hours on Saturday and Sunday are between 10 am and 3 pm. Entry is free.

If you have a project coming up that you'd like to share with our readers, please get in touch. We're keen to hear what you're up to.

Greyhope Bay celebrates its first anniversary

Greyhope Bay is gearing up to celebrate a significant milestone as the centre marks its first anniversary since opening at Torry Battery. The charity is hosting a weekend-long celebration, jam-packed with exciting activities and events for visitors of all ages.

Foodies will be delighted that Aberdam and The Seafood Bothy food trucks will be on-site, providing mouth-watering dishes for attendees to savour. In addition to delicious eats, live music from the Big Noise and Melting Pot will set the tone for the festivities, creating a lively and entertaining atmosphere.

Dedicated to expanding Greyhope Bay

Nature enthusiasts can look forward to rockpool ramble sessions and outdoor dolphin-watching scopes, providing an up-close and personal view of the local wildlife. For those more interested in history and culture, story tours of Torry Battery will also be available, highlighting the site's rich past.

Visitors can also take the opportunity to learn more about the Greyhope Bay programme partners by visiting their information stands.

But that's not all! Greyhope Bay has also set up an interactive stand for visitors to share their feedback and ideas regarding the development of Phase 2 of the project. The charity is dedicated to expanding the Greyhope Bay offer at Torry Battery and strengthening community ties with the coast. Monthly engagement events are also available for everyone to enjoy. It's an opportunity to connect with others and learn more about the project.

Greyhope Bay birthday offers a moment to celebrate

Greyhope Bay Founder, Fiona McIntyre said about the weekend “since opening the Greyhope Bay Centre in April 2022 the huge positive response and high demand has been exciting and has also demonstrated a huge potential for growth as we continue to identify opportunities and needs of the community, and the historic monument within which we reside. Our first birthday offers us a moment to celebrate the achievements of the project, our wide community of supporters and together look forward to what is a bright future for the project”

The Greyhope Bay Centre, which boasts some of the best coastal views in Scotland, offers a sustainable coffee café produced using a solar, battery, and rainwater treatment technology. The café, housed in an off-grid container conversion, hosts events, including marine and heritage weekly talks, outdoor learning and rock pooling, school visits, accessible art classes, and well-being events. It truly is a hub for community engagement and cultural exchange.

The Perfect Spot for Dolphin Watching

But perhaps the most exciting feature of The Greyhope Bay Centre is its location, which provides the perfect spot for dolphin watching while enjoying the stunning coastal views set within the historic Torry Battery. It is widely regarded as the best place in the UK to spot dolphins, making it an essential destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty of Scotland's coast.

Greyhope Bay's first-anniversary celebration promises an unforgettable experience, offering something for everyone. Whether you're a foodie, nature enthusiast, history buff, or just looking for a fun day out with family and friends, this birthday bash is for you.

#SaveCulture - We MUST protect Aberdeen's vital cultural programme

Aberdeen City Council faces a considerable funding shortfall, posing a significant challenge. Various proposed solutions have been suggested, including a drastic reduction in the cities cultural budget. This will inevitably result in the disappearance of many of the city's events.

It's time we made the call to #SaveCulture in Aberdeen.

In recent years, few things have brought the city together more than its exceptional festivals. Aberdeen is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage that can only reach its full potential with a well-funded cultural programme. Nurturing our culture requires passion, hard work, and healthy financial support.

Participating in cultural activities lets people feel connected to others and feel a sense of belonging.

Cultural events and activities improve people's well-being by providing a sense of community, reducing isolation, and promoting mental health. Participating in cultural activities lets people feel connected to others and feel a sense of belonging. Additionally, cultural activities such as dance, music, and theatre can provide therapy and help people express themselves creatively.

Spectra | Photo by Susan Strachan

Essential for wellbeing, business, diversity and jobs

Festivals and cultural events attract visitors from around the country and the world. This brings in desperately-needed revenue for local businesses, hotels, and restaurants. In addition, cultural institutions such as museums, galleries, and theatres create jobs and contribute to the local economy. Investing in cultural programmes supports a cultural tourism industry and bolsters our local economy.

The city's cultural programme provides opportunities for people from different backgrounds to come together and celebrate our diversity. Providing a platform for people to share their cultural traditions and practices promotes understanding and appreciation of other cultures. This leads to a more inclusive society.

Investing in cultural programmes supports a cultural tourism industry and bolsters our local economy

Cultural programmes provide educational opportunities for people of all ages, allowing them to learn about different cultures, histories, and art forms. This promotes learning and creates a more informed and engaged community. By investing in cultural programmes, the city can provide opportunities for its residents to learn and grow, which can help to improve our quality of life.

Aberdeen Art Gallery’s exterior view
Aberdeen Art Gallery | Photo by Chris Sansbury

How can you join the call to #SaveCulture

We've listed a few things you can do to convince Aberdeen City Council that cutting its cultural budget is not the solution that some may think it might be. No decisions have been made yet, but this will be discussed TOMORROW, so now is the time to take action.

  1. Contact your councillors. Visit the WriteToThem website and enter your postcode to find out who your representatives are. Then, go to the Aberdeen City Council website for their email addresses. Compose a brief email to them all expressing dissatisfaction with any proposal to cut the budget and explain why. Don't forget to include your home address. This lets them know you are a constituent.
  2. Sign the online petition at, leaving a personalised message of support.
  3. Use the hashtag #SaveCulture to share your thoughts on social media. Specifically, share some of your favourite events from recent years and explain why these events are significant to you.
  4. Share this article and spread the word on the value and importance of the cultural program in Aberdeen. You can help #SaveCulture in your city!

A well-funded cultural programme is crucial for Aberdeen. Promoting diversity, boosting the economy, enhancing education, and improving well-being create a more vibrant and thriving community. Investment in cultural programmes makes the city a cultural destination. The alternative is empty theatres, creative spaces and galleries. This would inescapably lead to more empty shops, cafes and restaurants. Let's work together to #SaveCulture.

Aberdeen Mela

Aberdeen Art Gallery brings a little serenity to Relaxed Mondays

Visitors to Aberdeen Art Gallery can now experience a new relaxed and comfortable environment on Mondays. The gallery team hopes Relaxed Mondays will appeal to those who may prefer a calmer environment. This includes families with neurodivergent children, neurodivergent young people and adults, adults living with dementia, and those with mental health problems.

To provide a more sensory-friendly environment, the Gallery has teamed up with Aberdeen charity, We Too! The team received ‘sensory first aid’ training and developed resources, such as an access guide, visual story, sensory den, and sensory kits, to make the experience more enjoyable for all visitors. The charity, which has previously supported visitors with additional support needs during the Spectra festival in 2022, will have their Ninjas on hand during this weekend's Spectra event.

Aberdeen Art Gallery’s exterior view
Photo by Chris Sansbury

Relaxed Mondays make everyone's experience memorable

Visitors on Relaxed Mondays can expect to be greeted by friendly, well-trained staff who are ready to answer any questions and make everyone's experience memorable. Sensory backpacks are available to borrow to further enhance the visit, including dark glasses, ear defenders, and fidget toys. A quiet sensory den has also been set up for those who may need a moment of peace.

Everyone is welcome to visit on Mondays, but to ensure a relaxed environment, the Gallery will not be accepting large group bookings. The friendly staff will be on hand to make everyone feel at home.

Creating the best customer experience for everyone

Phionna McInnes, of We Too! said, “As a customer-driven organisation, it’s our aim to reverse the inclusion model where Relaxed Sessions are predominantly for ASN (Additional Support Needs) participants, but in fact everyone is welcome as long as they are aware of the needs of others visiting at that time. It’s been great working with the Gallery team and other partners in the city who are passionate about inclusion and creating the best customer experience for everyone.”

Relaxed Mondays begin at Aberdeen Art Gallery on Monday 13 February.
Admission free

Aberdeen groups awarded £333,333 for eco projects

The team at ACVO has been in touch to tell us about the 13 community groups and charities that have been awarded grants from the Scottish government’s Just Transition Fund. These organisations will each receive a share of £333,333 for their environmentally friendly projects in Aberdeen, chosen by a public vote last month.

ACVO's Maggie Hepburn was impressed by the enthusiasm shown by the general public to be involved in voting for projects. She said: "I hope people can see that their votes have had real benefit for the third sector organisations who were successful.”

Local people guide how the region moves towards net zero

ACVO, who promote and foster the growth and participation of the Third Sector in Aberdeen, said the goal of the funding is to allow local people to have a say in how the region moves towards net zero emissions.

NESCAN Hub helps communities work together to organise climate projects, providing training, help and support. The two organisations have collaborated on distributing the grants. They have been focusing on projects that align with the needs and priorities of local communities.

Transportation is the main focus of many of the funding awards. Somebody Cares, Aberdeen Science Centre, Alcohol and Drugs Action, North East Sensory Services, Tillydrone Community Council and Camphill Wellbeing Trust have all chosen to use the grants to purchase and operate electric vehicles. This will of course help lower emissions for their services.

Cafe and community space Greyhope Bay has been awarded £11,000. This will be used to implement a recycling and waste management system at Torry Battery. Meanwhile, Cornhill Community Association has been awarded £16,625 to establish a community garden in the Cornhill/Stockethill area of the city.

ACVO and NESCAN Hub teamed up to distribute the grants

The 'Family Food: Fresh and Frugal' initiative at Garthdee Field Allotments has been awarded £20,789 in funding. This project involves allotment volunteers collaborating with students at Kaimhill Primary School to cultivate and cook their own vegetables. Additionally, The 9th Aberdeen Scout Group has been awarded £30,000 to make their Scout Hut in Broomhill more environmentally friendly. The group will achieve this through upgrades such as better insulation and roofing.

More green projects

Friends of Westfield Park got £10,400 for improvements to the park. They plan to add a container with a plant-covered "green roof" and also shelters for community events. The Allotment Market Stall, which takes place at parks across the city, received £13,590 to build a toilet that turns waste into compost at their Grove Nursery location.

Lastly, the Bonnymuir Green Community Trust has been awarded funding of £3,900 to assist in the maintenance of their community green space.

The Scottish Government launched the Just Transition Fund back in May 2022. This ten-year fund of £500 million is intended to help the North-East region transition to net-zero emissions.

Further details of the successful projects, as well as details of the free funding support offered by ACVO for charities and community groups in Aberdeen, can be found on their website.