New Deer is a rural village in Central Buchan Aberdeenshire where the population is much dispersed and relies upon four village centre centres for community facilities. New Deer is one such village. However the nearest sports facility used to be 9+ miles away New Deer All Weather Sports Facility is a community led initiative by New Deer Community Association a not for profit Charity and was final regeneration phase of the village park that is owned by the community. The area regenerated had a hut with primitive changing facilities. The with surrounding ground redundant as not large enough to serve a useful purpose, “Fit for All” is multipurpose all weather pitch with changing rooms and adequate car parking. A four person Project Management Team voluntarily delivered this project in 2 phases at a cost to date of £450,913. Phase one was Changing Rooms that were constructed to competition specifications. In addition to four changing rooms there are 2 official’s rooms with a disabled toilet, a large foyer with two public toilets, a committee room with kitchen facilities and a serving hatch. A ground source heat pump and solar panels provides under-floor heating and hot water. Showers are temperature and time controlled. Lighting is low energy and is also controlled. All Contractors and Construction Materials for the Changing Rooms were sourced from within Aberdeenshire reducing the carbon footprint of this development and giving a much needed investment to the local economy. Delivering the project in phases meant we did not have the cost of bringing services on site, as the existing hut met all site personal needs. Phase two commenced by transferring electricity from the hut to new build. Further money was saved by advertising the hut and its fittings free in return for removal of. Now in its place is 42x31m 3G surface with shock-pad the infill of which is made from recycled tyres. And while a shock-pad does not reduce injuries it reduces the severity. A galvanised mesh fence encloses the surface & four floodlight columns. The car park surface is hard core as will act as a natural soak away, disabled parking is positioned to allow for the pitch to be viewed from a car. February 2015 saw the first hires use the surface. New Deer School Children have free access during the school day this is extended to 7pm for sports teams. Anyone in the community can use this facility seven days a week from 9am-10pm at an hourly rate of £20 for the surface & access to a changing room a further £8 if floodlights are used. The committee room/ kitchen is £10. A serving hatch allows for the provision or selling of refreshments This community owned and run sports facility has added to the basic infra-structure and helps ensure the future sustainability of this rural community.
“Fit for All” is as a result of a wide range of extensive participative community consultations. The Architectural design and construction materials are harmonious with the character of the park and has been awarded a Green Butterfly Award by Aberdeenshire Environmental Forum Since the Facility has come on stream the footfall has more than doubled to the Park. The changing rooms are also accessed by the users of two football pitches from April to mid-October after which the winter weather in this part of Scotland dictates sport cannot be played on grass. The local community embraced this project from the outset raising money to obtain planning consent and a building warrant through a wide range of fundraisers. £56,950 is the monetary amount raised to date plus £65,000 Pro Bono work has been carried out Central Buchan is a farming community and the percentage of the working population on the minimum wage is one the highest in Scotland. However this rural project was turned down time and time again by funding bodies, not because it didn’t meet their criteria but because they didn’t have enough funds to meet demand. “Fit for All” would not have happened without a major financial contribution to the changing rooms from Aberdeenshire Council. EU legislation states “Zero Rate of VAT for Social Purposes. Project Co-ordinator attended a VAT Seminar run by Delottie and was advised Phase 1 would be Zero Rated but Phase 2 would not. This was reiterated by a VAT Consultant plus he included the car park. Project Management Team therefore thought it was just a formality that the VAT Consultant wrote to HMRC on our behalf requesting we could issue Zero VAT certificate to contractors as project was similar to a village hall in providing social or recreational facilities for a local community. HMRC refused stating the changing rooms could not be multi- purpose. This has resulted in +two tribunals and while the changing rooms are most definitely an untapped resource, it was first and foremost to the Project Management Team that they stayed focused on delivering the Project, resulting in only being able forward suggestions to the Tribunals on usage that were unfortunately not believed and dismissed. On advice of the Vat Consultant we have now issued this certificate retrospectively as it has been always stated this facility would be run “not for profit “ and now there is one year’s account to verify this. The Project Management Team delivered “Fit for All “£86,365 under budget This rural community now has as an All Weather Sports Facility that provides a safe and structured environment for all ages and abilities to participate in recreational sporting activities that weren’t available in central Buchan and at an affordable rate. It has helped combat rural isolation and improve the individual and community health and fitness.