• Moray Scotland

    Forres Skate Park campaigners need community input to carry on

    by David Walker, Press and Journal

    A funky roller disco for all ages is being held in Forres House Community Centre to raise awareness of the Forres Skate Park Initiative. Getting their skates on are, left to right, Sophie Fullard, Franky Haymer, Kirsty-Ann Wilson and Fi Rodger. Picture: Marc Hindley

    Campaigners, who plan to build a Skate Park in a Moray town, have launched an online survey to garner local support and input.

    The Forres Skate Park Initiative want to hear from anybody interested in their project to become involved in the campaign which is just starting to gather pace.

    However, before they can really get going, they are in desperate need of more members to achieve their goal of installing an all-inclusive skating facility in the community.

    FSPI has yet to formally constitute a campaign group, apply for charitable status or gain funding for a feasibility study to support applications for funding.

    That is why they have launched an online survey to gauge the public’s view on the Olympic training facility which would encourage the use of skateboards, roller blades, scooters and bikes.

    Once they have gained enough support, they intend to commission a study that would look at materials, landscaping options and opening times.

    Community development worker Vicky Flood is hopeful that the survey helps the group better understand what the people want.

    She said: “There has already been consultation over this project, however it is still important for funding and covers Moray Council’s obligations regarding Community Asset Transfers.

    “As the Bogton Road site next to Mosset Park was the second choice for a skate park in the Forres Planning for Real consultation, we have sent letters to residents closest to it.”

    The group recently held a popular bright roller disco in Forres to raise funds and awareness of the initiative.

    As of last week, nine people had expressed an interest in joining the group and becoming more involved in the campaign.

    The group has gained the support of FACT (Forres Area Community Trust) and meets in the Town Hall, but it now wants to stand on its own two feet.

    Committee member Fiona Rodgers added: “If we can get people together who can see the potential for an all-year-round skating facility, hopefully we can get the right people on board to make it happen.”

    The survey can be found here.

    Anyone interested should email vicky@forresarea.org.

    Hogmanay celebrations to return to beloved Moray venue for first time in half a century

    Forres Town Hall has stood on the High Street since the mid 19th Century.

    by David Mackay, Press and Journal

    Hogmanay celebrations will return to a treasured Moray town centre venue for the first time in half a century.

    Findhorn Bay Arts is hosting the shindig at Forres Town Hall with a wealth of traditional music acts taking part.

    The venue used to be the home of Hogmanay for the local community but has not hosted such a party since the 1960s.

    Now revellers are being invited to dress up with “dazzle and sparkle” from the era of the last celebration held at the town hall in order to bring in 2019.

    Kresanna Aigner, director of Findhorn Bay Arts, explained that the recent takeover of the venue by the Forres Area Community Trust from the council had inspired the decision to revive the events.

    She said: “The hall is in the hands of the community now which has made it possible to open it again for Hogmanay.

    “We had such a successful festival this year that it just felt like the right time to resurrect the parties at the town hall.

    “We’ve got people from six to 86-years-old coming. It’s a real mix but we want to help bring people together.”

    Tickets for the event are nearly sold out with proceeds being put towards supporting creative activities in the local area.

    Crowds are also expected to gather at the foot of Dufftown’s clock tower to bring in the bells, while sharing drams and shortbread.

    In Aberdeen, meanwhile, ABBA tribute band Thank You For The Music will be one of the top attractions.

    They will be joined on stage on Schoolhill by local musicians Rachael Bisset and Scott Mellis and the Celtic rock band Gleadhraich, with the fun beginning at 9pm.

    Marie Boulton, the city council’s culture spokeswoman, said: “There is always a great atmosphere in the city centre on Hogmanay.

    “Our free street party is an excellent way to bring in the bells.”

    Toun Mercat just one of Scottish Week highlights

    by Forres Gazette

    SCOTTISH Week returns on Saturday and with it comes a buzzing street market in the town centre.

    The triennial event co-ordinated by Forres Community Activities Association (FCAA) continues the Gala Week tradition, including the highlight for many, the crowd-drawing Toun Mercat on Friday, June 8.

    Rachel Philp, from Philp’s Fine Food, is organising the market stalls this year.

    She said: “With just three weeks to go, there has been a phenomenal interest from both stall holders and performers wanting to secure a place at the popular open-air market held along the entire length of Forres High Street between 6pm and 9pm.

    “We have almost 80 stalls confirmed already and applications are still coming in!”

    Attendees will find a pedestrianised high street, closed off to traffic for the evening, full of stalls, demonstrations, fairground rides and live performances.

    Cafes, bars and shops will also be open, and a new farmers’ market area will offer fresh, local and organic products direct from the producers.

    The theme for window dressing and fancy dress (open to everyone) is ‘Come As You Were’ in keeping with Scotland Year of the Young Person 2018.

    The entire event will also be compered by Wave Radio.

    Forres Area Community Trust development officer Debbie Heron is organising the entertainment.

    She said: “We know from experience that people look forward to the Toun Mercat but it’s up to businesses make it special.

    “I’m delighted we’ve had so many applicants but there is room for plenty more, especially street performers.

    “Anyone interested can contact me at the FACT office, 1 Leask Road, Forres or by telephoning 01309 674388.”

    Stalls are £15 and High Street retailers are given priority outside their shops.

    Booking forms for stall holders can be downloaded at https://forresarea.org/tounmercat or picked up from the FACT office on Leask Road between 9am and 1pm.

    They are also available from Rachel at Fresh Horizons Café on the Forres Enterprise Park between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Friday.

    Scottish Week 2018 runs from June 2-10.

    A Rock concert at the terraced hills in Grant Park on Saturday, June 2 at 8pm kicks off Scottish Week with a bang showcasing some of the best live music Forres has to offer; there will be performances from Forres Pipe Band including a march through the town centre to the park on Saturday, June 2 at 7pm; street racing for children and adults around the town centre on Monday, June 4 at 6pm has been organised by Forres Harriers; the Burgess Ceremony at Forres Academy is on Tuesday, June 5 at 7pm when six worthy folk will be officially recognised by the townspeople and installed as burgesses of the Royal Burgh to the live sound of Moray Concert Brass; a vintage tea dance with John ‘The Prof’ Matheson and friends is on at Forres Town Hall on Wednesday, June 6 at 2pm; historical tours are on offer including an evening walk around local landmarks and a lecture on witches at the Tolbooth on Thursday, June 7 at 7.30pm; a pet show located between Forres Area Soccer 7’s clubhouse and Forres st Lawrence Cricket Club pavilion will show off youngster’s handling and looking after of their animals on Saturday, June 9 at 11am; and the Riding of the Marches is on Sunday, June 10 at 2pm, a modern twist of the ancient tradition of riding the town’s boundaries on horseback – this year it will be by bicycle!

    You are welcome to The Big Lunch

    Forres Area Community Trust (FACT) is hosting the Big Lunch on Sunday, June 3 from 1-3pm – organiser Kirsty Williams hopes as many people as possible take the opportunity to meet each other and make new friends.

    She said: “Being part of a connected community means knowing who you live next to; saying hello, smiling, waving and stopping for a chat from time to time. Ultimately, connected communities are residents who look out for each other.”

    There will be games including, giant Jenga, skittles, draughts, welly wanging and People Bingo.

    Kirsty added: “Cameron Court and Varis Court residents, members of the OAP Association and The Cameron Project clients and volunteers are all making bunting to decorate the marquee.

    “The community is already contributing – the support is overwhelming.”

    The Big Lunch, organised by the Eden Project, is the UK’s largest annual community get-together. The idea is that, for a few hours, cars and shyness will stop and folk will come together to meet, greet, play games, sing, and laugh.

    Last year, 9.3 million people took to their streets, gardens and neighbourhoods across the UK to join in.

    Around 100 Forres folk enjoyed the local event at Transition Town Forres.

    This year, the Big Lunch coincides with Volunteers Week so attendees will also be celebrating all the volunteers who make our area such a vibrant community.

    Kirsty said: “We want as many as possible to join in so they can get a special thank you for all that they do. Many groups would simply not exist if it wasn’t for the volunteers who so willingly give their time. Now it is the community’s turn to thank them all.”

    Volunteers for any group or third sector organisation in the Forres Area are welcome.

    Tea, coffee and juice will be provided but FACT ask that attendees bring along picnic food to share such as sandwiches and home bakes, as well as blankets or chairs.

    The Big Lunch will be near the play area in Grant Park.

    For more information email kirsty@forresarea.org or call 01309 674388.